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Q&A With Olympian Terry Brands



Terry Brands Age: 32 Age started wrestling: 10 College: Iowa What's your goal going into the Olympics? Win a gold medal. If I wrestle a flawless tournament, everything will fall into place. What international experience do you have that has prepared you for this event? Everything from the World's, to the Pan Am's, to the World Cup's, even my youth wrestling. My lifelong dream has been a gold medal, even when I was little. So, all of my lifetime in which I have been wrestling has prepared me for this event. After winning the Olympic trials, what would you say you learned the most from a competition/technical standpoint? From a mental standpoint? From a technical standpoint, I learned that I got to stay off my knees. I need to come off my feet from my shots. If I do that I will be in good shape. I really need to not lean or reach with my hands. I know mentally that I was in the zone in Dallas. When I am in the zone like that at competitions, I don't miss a beat. Of course, I don't want to peak out too early. When the straps come on and the first whistle blows, I will be ready to peak. Before a big match, what do you tell yourself to mentally reassure yourself that you're ready? That's a hard answer to explain. With me, I run through a match preparation that has worked well for me over the years. It's a combination of psyching myself up mentally and physically that I am going to destroy this guy. It's weird, but it's basically a combination of find tuning my body and mind into one effort. Who has been the biggest influence on you during your wrestling career? Why? There are always several people who have had an influence. Without a doubt, the biggest influence is my dad (Tom). He engrained several things in me and my brother growing up which makes me what I am today. He taught me to believe that if you have great faith in the lord and an UNBELIEVABLE work ethic, you will get whatever you want in life. I am trying to pass that belief on to my children and hopefully they will pass it on to their generations. When you have those two things, anything can be accomplished. How are preparations going for the Olympics? Are you doing anything different? Does this meet have a different feel about it? Well, I think I pushed myself too hard in Colorado at the training camp. Overall the preparations are going well. At my age, as a Gable trained athlete I have to be smart with my rest and recovery. When it is time to rest, I do it. Trust me, the price has been paid at training camp, and now I can get back to my own pace and personal workout. I know better now how to handle it. I just want to hone my technique. What was the reaction back in your hometown? Have you been hearing from old friends? It has been overwhelming. We actually are having a fundraiser in my hometown of Sheldon on Thursday. It really is a good feeling that they still recognize and honor you after 15 years. It really has been a positive thing. What has wrestling taught you? How do you view the sport? I know that there is nothing harder than the sport of wrestling when you fully commit yourself to it. I mean fully commit. Knowing that nothing is ever going to be tougher than wrestling, you will always be the best at anything you do. Whether it's digging ditches in Alaska or being a medical student at the top med. School in the country. The sport has really left a good taste in my mouth. Even during the years when I wasn't as successful against certain individuals, I would not take back any of those matches. I know that I can carry those life lessons with me. Wrestling is in my blood. It is my life and is my living. I feel I was created to wrestle and to teach others about it. What do you think of the coaching staff assembled for the Olympics? I think the staff complements each other very well. John Smith has helped me tremendously on my leg lace defense. Strobel has helped me on my leg turks. Bruce Burnett is unbelievable. He simply has a goal as the National Freestyle Coach and gets the job done, period. Of course, everyone knows the impact Gable has had in my career. What role does your family have in preparing you or supporting you as an athlete chasing your goals of being an Olympic Champion? From a competition standpoint, I got that covered. I will of course get me to the gold medal. From an emotional and support standpoint, they make things easier on my mind. They really put things at ease with me. I know when I am on long trips, such as Sydney, that the home front and my son Nelson are in good hands with my family. My newborn daughter Sydney will make the trip with my wife. Just having all of my family, including Tom in my corner really puts things at ease from a mental and family standpoint.
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