COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Women's wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports and Colorado's Adeline Gray has been leading the way. She just won her fifth world championship and is a favorite going into next year’s Olympic Games.
“When I was a freshman in high school, I had no idea there was going to be this much explosion in women’s wrestling. At the time, we just had world championships, no Olympics," Gray said.
She started wrestling when she was 6 years old. As the tallest of four sisters, her mother wanted her to play basketball.
Gray said she told her mom, “'No, Mom, I wrestle. I like wrestling. I want to learn new moves and win.' I went on to make World Junior Olympic teams. About my third international trip, my mom was like, ‘I am really glad you chose wrestling. I really like watching wrestling.’”
Her father has been and continues to be her biggest cheerleader.
“My father is a Denver police officer. He works at the airport right now. I have a layover in Denver tomorrow and we’re going to have lunch over his lunch break, so it’s perfect," Gray said.
She went on to describe their special bond.
"The moves that he taught me when I was very young, I actually used in the finals of the world championships a few years ago and it was just an amazing full circle life thing that happened. Moves I learned at 6 and 7 years old, I got to use at the highest level of the world championship finals," Gray said.
During her 10-year career, she has had her share of injuries, and not just on the mat.
"Right before world championships, I was hiking Mt. Pinnacle near Mt. Rainier in Washington. I fell and sliced my hand open. Severed a nerve in my hand and needed surgery. That was six weeks before the world championships. I didn’t actually take my brace off until the day of world championships. I padded it and tapped it up and tried the best I could. Came out with gold medal and a little pain in my hand. Figured out adrenaline is a very powerful drug," Gray said.
Gray is on the cover of the most recent USA Wrestler Magazine.
“One little girl picked it up and said, 'One day I’d like to have Adeline Gray read a magazine with my face on it.' I think that’s pretty cool because that’s one thing I never got the opportunity to do. I never saw women on the cover of magazines for their accomplishment in individual sports," Gray said.
Gray is inspiring a whole new generation of girls and that is motivating her to continue to push for gold.
She is hoping you will follow her career leading up to the 2020 Olympics on her social media pages. You can also visit her website. Her family is selling T-shirts to raise money to travel to her international competitions, which will hopefully include the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.AlertMe