USA Greco

Post-Olympic Wrestling Trials Quotes: Thielke, Provisor, Rau

Thielke after winning 2016 Trials

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Six spots on the US Greco Olympic Team were earned over an exciting weekend at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. There were some surprises, a couple of outstanding performances, and a lot of interesting soundbites. Here are a few from Saturday night’s winners.

Jesse Thielke (59 kg, NYAC)

On his overall performance throughout Saturday including his victory over Hafizov:

“It feels great, not surprised. I knew I could come in after wrestling 66 (kg) overseas at all the camps, all the tournaments and doing well there. If I could wrestle well with them up a weight, down at 59 in the US I knew I could be top dog, no problem. I just knew I had to put the time in training, the effort and get on the mat and let the whistle blow. Everything else will take care of itself.”

On if he had he had a feeling going in that his match with Mango would unfold the way it did:

“I knew I was going to win, I did not know it was going to happen like that. I’ve wrestled him in practice matches before, it was no surprise to me that I could go out there and score a lot of points.”

Thielke post trials quote

His difference in training heading into this year:

“I’m wresting full-time Greco now. Last year when I went to the Open I was just coming off a college season, so I had four weeks to train on my own in Madison and come back. It’s very different wrestling Greco and going on tours year-round and coming back. I’m a very different wrestler as you can see.”

Regarding Coach Lindland’s comment that Thielke has had this in him the whole time:

“Absolutely. It took time, it took training, patience, repetition, everything. Just building that confidence and knowing that every time I go out there I can score points. And every time I attempted to, I did.”

Ben Provisor (85 kg, NYAC)

When asked how it feels making his second Olympic team:

“Pretty damn good, man. It’s a great feeling, it’s been a long road to be back here and I’m just happy and blessed to be where I’m at right now.”

On his litany of injuries over the past couple of years:

“I had a back surgery that put me out after the Olympics (in 2012), I had a nerve impinged and get a little bone spur taken out, I had a sports hernia in Russia and got surgery on that. I had a grade-three tear in my hamstring and then after that I was number one in the US and busted my elbow in half. I tore the RCL tendon in my arm off the bone and had to have surgery on that, as well.”

Provisor’s departure from Colorado Springs:

“The best thing I’ve done in the last two months is move to Florida and train with the Florida Jets and Geordan Speiller. It’s a lot of one-on-one stuff. I didn’t feel like I was getting the right things in Colorado so I had to move.”

His move to 85 kg from 74 (now 75 kg):

“After I started training again I was like 92, 90 kilos, so there was no way I was making 74 again. I turned 24 and then 25, started gaining a little bit of ‘man strength’ and there was no way I was getting back to that weight.”

Joe Rau (98 kg, Minnesota Storm)

On being nervous before the best-of-three final:

“Yeah, I was nervous. I usually don’t get nervous, I usually do a good job of that. I was sick to my stomach. I was panicking, thinking about the wrong things, but every time I had a bad thought or doubt I replaced it with a good thought. It’s a constant battle that I think everybody has.”

His overall feeling entering Saturday:

“I’ve beaten all these guys already but you get nervous, it’s the Olympic Trials.”

On falling behind and having to come back:

“To be honest, I kind of blacked out (laughs). I just kept wrestling, kept telling myself, ‘Don’t be scared of getting tired, keep trying, keep believing through and through.’ I just tell myself to wrestle my best, the most effort entirely that I can and everything else doesn’t matter.”

Joe Rau

His advice to kids who struggle with wrestling and get down on themselves:

“If you love the sport, stick with it. I’ve had tons of guys on all kinds of teams with me that were way better than I was. Always. But no one had the love for the sport that I had. I can say that with confidence. I wasn’t always the best, but every coach I had said I was the most improved every year. So I started really small. Very, very raw. But I kept getting better and better and better. And then once I got lined up with the right coaches, things just clicked. I started believing in myself and that was huge.”

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