US wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock was overcome with patriotic pride after winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics Tuesday.
In a press conference after she beat Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu in the 68kg freestyle wrestling event, the 28-year-old, draped in the American flag, was asked what it feels like to wrestle for her country at the Olympics.
“I love representing the U.S. I freaking love living there,” she said after winning her medal. “And I’m so happy I get to represent the U.S.A.! I love it.”
Mensah-Stock said she can’t wait to get back to Texas to celebrate with her husband and her dog. After going into a dark room to “cry tears of happiness” as she grapples with being an Olympic champion.
But this win also allows her to keep a promise she made to her mom years ago.
“I wanted to give my mom $30,000 so she can get a food truck, ‘cause it’s her dream,” she said. “And I told her five years ago, ‘Alright mommy, I’ll get you your food truck, but you gotta be responsible.
“So my mom’s gettin’ her food truck! She’s gonna have her little cooking business. She can cook really, really, really well. Barbecue!”
Though she can’t eat it as she’s a pescetarian, she said with a laugh.
Mensah-Stock is an absolute joy to watch. Her bubbly excitement is infectious and joy exudes from her every pore. Part of that is because she loves what she does.
“When I first started wrestling, I wanted to be an emblem, a light to younger women and show them that you can be silly, you can have fun and you can be strong,” Mensah-Stock told USA Today. “You can be tough, you can be a wrestler and you don’t have to be like this,” – growl – “I’m gonna be mean to you.”
Mensah-Stock Watched ‘Walking Dead’ to Prepare
Tamyra Mensah-Stock said competing in her first Olympics was terrifying. Though, you wouldn’t have noticed that from her constant smiling and laughter.
“I was jittery,” she said. “It was was dang near extremely impossible” to stay calm. She told her coaches she was scared, despite continuing to dominate her weight class.
“I’m nervous, I’m scared, I’m nervous, and I’m freakin’ out here,” she told them, Yahoo said. “Help me. I’m freaking out.”
The nerves were so bad Tuesday before the gold medal match that she watched two episodes of The Walking Dead to calm herself. She turned to a high-strung zombie show to relax.
Along with watching zombie dramas, she said she has a music playlist that is “33 hours and 46 minutes long” to get her in the right headspace. It consists mostly of “Christian and gospel music,” she said.
She said the music “reminds me who I’m fighting for. My number-one artist is definitely [Christian hip-hop artist] Andy Mineo. I love him. My favorite songs by him are ‘You Can’t Stop Me’ and ‘Superhuman.’”