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Q&A With Olympian Lincoln McIlravy



Lincoln McIlravy Age: 26 Age started wrestling: 5 College: University of Iowa What's your goal going into the Olympics? My biggest goal is to have a great performance. If I have a great performance, that means I wrestle well and will win a gold medal. Anything less is obviously a dissapointment. What international experience do you have that has prepared you for this event? From a competition standpoint, all of the World Championships I have participated in have prepared me best for the Olympics, but from a format standpoint, the Pan Am's are very similar. The Pan Am's have a village and a lot of red tape similar to the Olympics. So, they are a little alike from that view. After winning the Olympic trials, what would you say you learned the most from a competition/technical standpoint? From a mental standpoint? Technically, I learned to always use my best stuff in the trials. You only have one chance, so you have to persorm. Regardless of the opponent, I always tried to use my best technique. Mentally, again you have only one chance, but you have to enjoy the process. If I don't enjoy the actual wrestling at the trials, I wouldn't have done well. Before a big match, what do you tell yourself to mentally reassure yourself that you're ready? The mental preparation for me usually starts about six weeks prior to competition. I TOTALLY convince myself that I am going to win. I am full of confidence. I make it a point to stay focused with no distractions or as little as possibble. I always know it will not be easy, but I also know that I will do what ever it takes. Who has been the biggest influence on you during your wrestling career? Why? Well, there have been so many people over the years. But, over the last six to eight years Coach Gable has had the biggest influence on my wrestling. His wrestling style and philosophy are evident in my wrestling technique and mentality which will definitely be a factor in my achieving a gold medal. Again, there are a lot of people who have influence me tremendously over the years, but at this time, it would be Coach Gable. How are preparations going for the Olympics? Are you doing anything different? Does this meet have a different feel about it? My preparations for this competition are better than previous years in all phases. Technically, mentally, competition, as well as rest and recovery are going very well. I will definitely be more prepared for the Olympics than any other world championship I have ever wrestled in. Ultimately, this is my first Olympics, but I have been preparing for the Olympics for 21 years. I have wrestled in the Olympics every day for the last 21 years, so there is no pressure on me at all. What was the reaction back in your hometown? Have you been hearing from old friends? My hometown is really excited. They had a parade for me. Overall, the support has been overwhelming from Phillips, Douth Dakota. I have actually heard from friends who have e-mailed me through my website (http://www.Lincolnmcilravy.com). What has wrestling taught you? How do you view the sport? My basic feeling on anything you spend time at, (in this case wrestling for me), perfecting is that I like it a lot, so I do it a lot. Nothing is automatic, nothing is easy. ANYTHING is possibble. What do you think of the coaching staff assembled for the Olympics? They are the best support group on any team I have ever been associated with. Because of certain loyalties in college wrestling, we might have little direct contact to keep that competitive edge. But the way I see it is that John Smith can help Terry Brands and Lincoln McIlravy. All three of our coaches have helped me tremendously. In America, with all of the resources we have in wrestling, it's a shame we aren't the best in the world every year. As we pull together, it can be a great start. What role does your family have in preparing you or supporting you as an athlete chasing your goals of being an Olympic Champion? My mom and dad (Linda & Ken) did anything to help me in wrestling growing up. At age 5 they directed me positively. They truly did a great job doing that. I have been married to Lisa for seven years and she has made every event except one due to the birth of my son. My two sons, Streeter and Sterling and Lisa are all going to Sydney. I really rely on all of their emotional support at my competitions and prefer to have them with me. Actually, Streeter's favorite wrestler is Les Gutches.
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