After Team USA Olympian Tamyra Mensah-Stock won gold in her weight class in women’s freestyle wrestling, she proudly displayed the American flag as she thanked God for her success and said that she loves representing the United States.
“Of course I surprise myself. It’s by the grace of God I’m able to even move my feet. I just leave it in His hands and I pray that all the practice, that the hell that my freaking coaches put me through pays off, and every single time it does,” Mensah-Stock said during a press conference following her win. “And I get better and better. And it’s so weird that there is no cap to the limit that I can do and I’m excited to see what I have next.”
“That American flag around your shoulders looks pretty good,” a reporter asked the gold medalist. “How does that feel to represent your country like this?”
“It feels amazing,” she beamed. “I love representing the US. I freaking love living there. I love it and I’m so happy I get to represent U-S-A! I love it.”
To win the gold, Mensah-Stock took down Blessing Oborududu of Nigeria and became the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal in wrestling.
During the press conference, Mensah-Stock explained that her father, who passed away when she was in high school, was from Ghana. Her father had a rivalry with Nigeria, she said, so “it’s kind of poetic that I had to wrestle Nigeria in the final.”
Mensah-Stock said she has immense respect for her competitor, who became the first wrestler, male or female, to win an Olympic medal for Nigeria.
“I’m like, oh my gosh, look at us representing,” Mensah-Stock said, according to USA Today Sports. “This is so freaking awesome. So I’m like, if one of us wins, we’re making history. You’re making history, I’m making history. We’re making history. It’s fantastic. So it meant a lot. I’m so proud of Blessing. I was looking at her going, dang. She’s killing it. I can kill it, too.”
During the medal ceremony, Mensah-Stock, who was wearing American flag earrings, placed her hand over her heart as the national anthem played over the loudspeakers.
“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 said. “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.”
“It feels like it was meant to be,” Mensah-Stock continued. “All this time, it just feels right. It would’ve felt wrong if I didn’t. So I had to go out there and fight for it. And boy, did I fight for it.”