Following her gold medal win in the Tokyo Olympics, American Olympic wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock thanked God for the opportunity, and said it was an honor to represent her country, where she "loves" to live.
NPR reports that Mensah-Stock, 28, was the 2nd woman to earn an Olympic wrestling gold medal in the women's 68-kilogram freestyle finals, and the first black woman to achieve the honor.
Smiling and bowing to the small audience in the Makuhari Messe Hall of Tokyo, Mensah-Stock reportedly made a heart-shaped symbol with her hands soon after her victory. As she embraced her coaches, she hoisted a big U.S. flag over her head, celebrating her time with the U.S. Olympic Team.
"I love representing the U.S. I love living there. I love it. And I'm so happy I get to represent USA!" Mensah-Stock was quoted as saying by Faithwire.
She also made a point of thanking God for her big win.
"It's by the grace of God I'm even able to move my feet," she was also reported as stating to the press after her win. "I just leave it in His hands and I pray that all the practice ... my coaches put my through pays off and, every single time, it does."
America’s Tamyra Mensah-Stock won gold at Tokyo in wrestling:
“I love representing the US. I freakin love living there. I love it and I’m so happy I get to represent U.S.A!”
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 3, 2021
As per NPR, Mensah-Stock of Katy, Texas, made her way through unusually difficult rounds to reach the final.
Japan's Sara Dosho, 2016 Olympic gold winner and 2017 world champion, was her first competition. Shortly after that, she turned her attention to China's Feng Zhou, who stunned Mensah-Stock with a victory in the early part of 2020.
Mensah-Stock, a qualifier, took against Alla Cherkasova of Ukraine, who had also previously held the women's world title. Falling behind, she eventually managed to regain the lead to win by a score of 10-4.
Mensah-Stock had won the U.S. Olympic Team Trials five years earlier, but since the country couldn't qualify her weight class, she was forced to accompany the U.S. delegation to Rio as a training partner.
More about the athlete
While speaking with the press, she also spoke about her goal of inspiring other African-American women to take up wrestling, as well as the importance of recognizing her family's history in Ghana, where her father was born.
A vehicle accident tragically claimed her father's life shortly after the conclusion of one of her high school matches.
"He would have been the loudest one here," she told the reporters. "He would have been so proud."
Said to be very kind and gracious off the mat, Team USA said that Mensah-Stock was forceful and determined throughout the competition, starting with a two-point takedown. Her opponent, Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu scored a point to try to negate her strike, but Mensah-Stock came back with a takedown to gain a 4-1 lead.
After the fight for the gold, she mused how it looked "poetic" that she, a Nigerian had beaten a native of Ghana. Nigeria and Ghana were said to be rival nations in Africa.
(Photo by John Sachs via USA Wrestling on Twitter)