COLORADO SPRINGS — A Colorado Springs athlete representing team USA made history in her Olympic debut. Tamyra Mensah Stock became the first black American woman to win gold in wrestling.
"It's surreal. It's a long time coming. I knew that I could do it but for it to finally be here, not four years but five years (later), it's awesome. It's a dream come true. This is what I've been waiting for, and I am so happy to be an Olympic champion," said Mensah Stock.
Mensah Stock has been training at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to get ready for the biggest sport stage. She says making it there has been a dream of hers for more than a dozen years, after she began wrestling as a sophomore in high school.
News5 asked Mensah Stock if she ever thought she'd make it to the big games. Her response was, "Oh yea, the first year I started wrestling."
Fast forward more than a decade and the 28-year-old made her Olympic debut in Tokyo and won wrestling gold representing Colorado Springs; Texas, where she grew up; and Chicago, Illinois, where she was born.
"I like to represent my country in the best way that I can and wrestling is where God led me," said Mensah Stock. "I love it, just being that pioneer, making history, letting people know that like 'hey guess what, you can do this. I'll show you how, and then just follow suit."
Mensah Stock says she's always strives to be a leader of action and is excited bring a gold medal back home to Colorado Springs. As she now stands at the top of the Olympic podium, she also says this win is more than just a gold medal to her.
"Just know, I didn't like wrestling for a month (when I first started,). I despised it, but look where I'm at now. Remember that you might not like it but if you're a natural, shoot for the stars and just have fun," said Mensah Stock.
Mensah Stock said she'll be in Tokyo for a few more days and will be cheering on her teammates in their wrestling events. She said she's excited to be on the sidelines rooting for them and supporting them.
The wrestler also claimed two state championship titles in high school as well as two national championships in college. She mentioned she's no stranger to making history, and says it's a pattern in her life. She's used to being a pioneer for other athletes and wants to continue doing so for years to come.