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Quotes from Iris Smith and Katie Downing and coach Terry Steiner following medal matches at World Championships
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Katie Downing, (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)
"I didn't come here for bronze at all. It's pretty hard. I had to wrestle back for it, something I did not want to do. Later, I've have more perspective. Right now, I know this is not what I came for."
(about the match with Degrenier of Canada)
"I have to figure something out. I worked on my high single and double leg defense a lot. She is just strong. It's not pretty technique, very simple. But it works. I have to never let it get there. She can't score singles on me if I am in on her leg. I'll figure it out next year."
"I didn't have any choice but to wrestle back. I guess there is a part I had to turn on the switch. After I lost, I didn't feel like wrestling. I wanted to go home. I had to take the disappointment and use it to make me want to win more. In the match against Japan, where it seemed neither of us wanted to be there, there was a point in the third period where we were both sore and tired. She gave up a little and I knew I had it."
"This is just the first time I've been here. I have dreamed of this so long. I wasn't nervous or stressed. I was excited to be here. I just knew I would win it. This is the beginning of my dream. This is the first time I'm here. I have imagined for so long what it would feel like. When I got to feel it for real, it was a neat experience."
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Iris Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army)
"It feels so good. I was raised religious. Before my match, I prayed. I feel like through Him all things are possible. I totally believe in miracles. I wrestled every match to the best of my ability. I didn't care who wrestled. I went out and did my best. And it worked."
"Before the finals match, I got a good warmup in. I wrestled her at the World Cup five months ago. She beat me. But I felt I could beat her. I decided to do my own thing. (U.S. Army coach) Shon Lewis helped me out to get prepared. My strategy was to keep moving. (National coach) Terry Steiner had everything ready, and he told me what to do. It worked."
"I think my gold was important to the team. I wanted to hear the national anthem and see my flag raised. I love my country. It motivated me. I wanted to get my country another gold medal."
"When it was over, I looked at Shon and Terry's faces. When I saw them, I thought, 'I guess I won.' I was instantly thanking God. I was so pumped and teary eyed."
(about starting her wrestling career in Georgia)
"Every little wrestler's dream is to go to the Olympics or win the World gold. My first coach, Anthony White, always told me I could do it. At the time, I had posters of (four-time World champion) Tricia Saunders. I wanted to be like Tricia Saunders. Now it is my turn."
USA Wrestling National Women's Coach Terry Steiner
"It was a huge comeback. We knew Katie Downing and Iris Smith were capable of medals and capable of winning the tournament. Being capable and doing it are different things. A gold medal is great to get. Iris went for the gold and ran with it. She looked great in all the training camps. It was well deserved."
"As a team, we had matches that showed character. Sara McMann, Katie Downing and Sally Roberts showed great character. They had an opportunity to wrestle back after their losses and they did it. They fought through it. We have two teams ahead of us who are not slowing down. We need to move forward however. But this is a great place to start going forward to 2008."
"In all of Iris' matches, she never beat herself. This was something she had to work on. She kept good position, nothing fancy, just good solid wrestling. She stayed focused."
"This was a huge step for Katie Downing. She wanted a gold medal. It started by making the team and beating a seven-time World medalist. She did a great job here. She is a very focused and disciplined individual. Good things happen to those who work. This is just a start for Katie Downing."