OLYMPIC DREAM: At Risk For Young Wrestlers
Football players dream of the NFL and basketball players dream of the NBA.
The ultimate goal for a young wrestler is to win Olympic gold.
That dream propelled Iowa State head coach Kevin Jackson to a gold medal in 1992.
“It told me I needed to work hard to accomplish my goals and it does the same thing for every young wrestler in this country,” said Jackson.
Ed Banach also rode dreams of Olympic gold.
He wrestled at the University of Iowa before winning gold in 1984.
“I was 12 years old when I set the goal to be an Olympic champion,” Banach told Channel 13 News.
Wrestling taught these legends lessons in toughness and accountability.
They hope young athletes will learn the same lessons.
“You don’t have anyone else to point a finger at. If you didn’t get a take-down to win the match, you didn’t get a take-down to win the match,” said Banach.
Olympic wrestling is on life support and for the first time, it will have to compete to exist.
“We’re going to fight hard. We’re going to do everything we have to do and I’ll do whatever I have to do to make sure it is added back in 2020,” said Jackson.
Jackson and Banach are calling on all legends from all eras so the hundreds of athletes competing at Wells Fargo Arena this weekend can have the same opportunities they did.
“I know Coach Douglas and Coach Gable are devastated by the news, but I guarantee it’s fueled them to fight harder to save the sport,” Jackson told Channel 13 News.