Adding some orange and black to London
The wrestling mat will be covered with orange and black in London. Coleman Scott is headed to the Olympics as a member of the US team. Coleman won an extraordinary so called grapple off in the middle of New York City’s Times Square to grab the team’s last spot. So we’ve told you about a high jumper, a runner, and a men’s gymnast, all with Oklahoma ties. One will make the trip, the others fell short. Now, a look at someone guaranteed a spot…
(teaching words, then down)
Coleman Scott has everyone’s attention, parents included, at OSU Coach John Smith’s wrestling camp in Gallagher Iba. About 250 kids crowd around the 5 foot 8 Olympian, squeezing close. As he demonstrates a take down move, their eyes dart to the mat.
This was the plan. Growing up in a community known for wrestling in Pennsylvania was step one. Then, setting that goal and having the bull headed determination to go after it.
“Yeah, it’s definitely a big leap, you know. Oklahoma’s a little bit slower and I like it. Now it’s like I hate going back to the East. Now it’s like if we’re a few minutes late, we’re a few minutes late.”
See, Coleman Scott took the 1,061 mile trip from tiny Waynesburg in the southwest corner of the Keystone State for one reason, and one reason only.
“Looking at my long term goals at becoming an Olympic champ, why wouldn’t you come?”
Just mention the Oklahoma State pedigree…Coleman makes it 41 OSU wrestlers who have taken their talents to the Olympics.
“I have two Olympians and one that I work out with every day… this is the best decision I ever made.”
But even the best of plans can be thwarted. Things start and stop, start and stop, and you start to doubt yourself. It’s hard enough to qualify for the Olympics. Year after year, it was third place at the world team trials.
“It’s like, that was not a wasted year, but it’s came up short again, so four years in a row. Those were the times you were like, man, is this what I want to do? I need to get on a team, I don’t like losing.”
This leads us to that Grapple in the Big Apple. The top two US wrestlers at 132 pounds challenged Coleman for his spot won at the Olympic Trials. Why not just set up a mat in the middle of the neon screens, New York City traffic, and tourists and see what happens? Well, good things happened for Coleman, as he topped both.
“Nothing’s really sunk in yet. But I think when I get over there when we do our processing right before Opening Ceremonies and then Opening Ceremonies. Because right now, I’ve never been there, I don’t really know what to expect. It hasn’t sunk in, it’s just another tournament for me.”
There is one unavoidable fact: Coleman is suddenly in high demand, among family, friends and the media.
“My phone, I was having to charge it 3 times a day, and I was like this sucks. Because I’m a pretty simple person, I don’t like talking on the phone, I like to be out in the shadows more or less.”
Nationwide, wrestling’s popularity has fallen off. Colleges have cut programs to save money, and it’s rare the sport gets attention outside of the Olympics. But in Stillwater, Coleman is still as popular as ever.
About 40 people pack inside the new Mexican restaurant Mucha Lucha on the Strip, all there to send Coleman off.
“I don’t like being in front of people, I don’t like being introduced but if I’m on the wrestling mat, I like the crowd. I’m on the mat, I can control it.”
“I don’t have a job. I wrestle. Make money wrestling. It’s what I wanted to do, I’m just living a dream.”
It’s as simple as that. The next part of that dream could get written in London.