Woman Crush(ing It) Wednesday: Adeline Gray

Okay, real talk for a second: I don't really follow wrestling. I know about Jordan Burroughs and that's pretty much the extent of it. However, I recently had the opportunity to hear Adeline Gray speak, and LET ME TELL YOU, I now have my wrestling ride-or-die. She is phenomenal.

+ Adeline started wrestling when she was six years old when her dad, the father of four girls and not really sure what to do with them, decided to get them into an activity he understood. Adeline took to the sport like a fish to water and was successful almost immediately. In high school, she made the (boys) varsity wrestling team when she was just a freshman, made her first Junior National Team in 2008 and has been competing for the U.S. ever since.

+ With world championships starting this week, Adeline is on her sixth worlds team in six years. In her last four trips to worlds, she's won two gold medals and two bronze medals (and is the current defending champion). But I personally think the coolest thing about Adeline's competitive history is that she's competed in three different weight brackets; 63 kg., 67 kg. and 75 kg. There's a competitive edge to cutting weight and wrestling in a lower weight bracket, as she'd be one of the bigger girls and have the advantage of height and weight. But Adeline hated cutting weight and found it more detrimental than anything else. So she decided to move up weight classes so she could stop focusing on losing weight and instead put all her energy into, y'know, being fit and strong and hydrated and healthy. And her most recent world title came in the 75 kg. bracket, where she was one of the smaller athletes. So basically, this girl is badass AND brilliant!

+ Speaking of badass and brilliant, let's add a third B to that list: beautiful. When asked what the most difficult question she's gotten in response to her being a wrestler, she said, "'You are too pretty to be a wrestler.' There is a stigma in women’s wrestling and many women in sports should not be feminine. I work hard and I have muscles and skill because I dedicate my life to a sport that allows me to travel the world and compete on an elite level and I look like a girl. Males do not have to worry about being told they are to good looking to be doing a sport; it is sad that people believe you cannot have both." Yep, she looks like a girl and could beat the snot out of you and then speak eloquently about it. Amazing.

+ No U.S. woman has ever won gold in wrestling at the Olympics. Adeline's goal is to become the first. Terry Steiner, the head coach of the U.S. women's wrestling program, said: "She's become the face of our program. I think it's very important for her to be the face of this program forever, and being the first Olympic gold medalist would do that. She'd be etched in stone forever." And Adeline herself has said, " “I have so many young girls who look up to me that it brings tears to my eyes. I love seeing them have that (Olympic) dream. There are a lot of young boys who look up to football and baseball players who make a lot of money. Women really don’t have those people. I really want this sport to give girls something to believe in and something to dream for … and that it’s a much bigger world than just going to school or just getting a job." #YAAASSSSS

+ Adeline won gold at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games this summer, which was the topic she spoke about when I got to see her. Not only was she herself a great speaker, but she brought someone up on stage to help her act out her Pan Ams experience, which was creative and downright hilarious. So all of that was endearing enough, but what really made me love her was when she spoke from the heart. She was on stage in front of a crowd of USOC employees, and she thanked us so genuinely for supporting her and all other athletes. Working during the Pan Ams was (as I've mentioned before) incredibly difficult for me, but hearing how grateful she was made me feel so much more positive about my own experience. She said that we work to support her, and she goes out there and competes for us: "You may be the team behind the team, but yours are the faces that I see." GUYS. I frickin' love her.

So, I realize that all I really did here was directly quote things that Adeline has said. But who needs editorial license when she says such great things?! In short: keep an eye on this girl, because I'm pretty sure she's about to take over the world.

post signature

No comments :

Post a Comment