Minnesota Storm

Carlson On Going Full-Time Greco: ‘You’ll Find A Way To Make It Work’

rich carlson, minnesota storm, 87 kg
Rich Carlson -- Photo: Sam Janicki

Rich Carlson (87 kg, Minnesota Storm) is one of the guests on the upcoming 56th episode of The Five Point Move Podcast, and during the course of his dialogue the multi-time National Team member shared his thoughts on becoming a full-time Greco-Roman athlete.

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Carlson, 29, has been an established Senior Greco competitor since 2017 and is considered a strong contender for the ’24 USA Olympic Team. The Minnesota native was on the Junior World roster in ’14, as well, which illustrates his long-held love for the sport. However, it is only until recently when Carlson began investing in his competitive aspirations on a full-time basis. Along with serving in the Minnesota National Guard and having also been employed in a more “regular” type of job environment in the years following college (University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse), availability to continuously prepare for top-level wrestling events had eluded him. He would keep himself in tremendous shape and attend Storm practices; but between managing his normal work schedule and fulfilling his military obligations, Carlson was forced to reconcile the obvious: if a berth on the ’24 Olympic Team were to remain at the center of his target zone, then he needed to be all-in.

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In order to pursue his Olympic dream on this scale, Carlson kept it simple. He quit what was a good job for Cardinal Glass Industries, which was not easy, particularly since they had previously attempted to help make his schedule more flexible. It was an overture for which Carlson is and was grateful, but, to him, more purposeful energy than ever before has to be diverted towards appropriately training for the all-important Trials in April.

A big part of the protocol is sacrifice. Carlson shares that he has had to “downgrade” his living space and embrace a lifestyle that is, presumably, not quite as comfortable as it was before. He is still earning money on account of his National Guard pay in addition to filling in the gaps with a little coaching and, he hopes, personal training clients. And, that’s it. Carlson is otherwise wholly accessible when it comes to training at the highest level possible to make his Olympic dream a reality.

Carlson on Full-Time Greco for 2024 Olympic Year

“If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to make it work. That’s true of pretty much anything in life, but if you want to make the Olympic Team and you want to be a full-time wrestler, you’ll find a way to make it work. It’s almost impossible to do nothing but wrestle. You’re going to have to have some sort of side income. I’m still in the National Guard, I teach wrestling classes in a couple different gyms… I just picked up my CrossFit certification so that I can teach fitness classes at gyms, as well, and I’m going to start doing that.

“I have these side-hustles and I’m still willing to put in time and make some money to support this dream. But at the same time, you also have to be willing to downsize or downgrade your style of living.

“Previously, I was living in a nicer house and living a different lifestyle. I had to give up a lot of things and compromise on a lot of lifestyle changes in order to make this work. And I think that’s something that people have to realize if you want this.

“Maybe that’s not even true if you can find a job that works with you. Then there are multiple things you can do. A great example is getting into real estate and flipping houses. Granted, you have to have a certain set of skills to be able to do that, but if you’re 19, 20-years-old, you can start working a labor job and gain some of those skills part-time while being a full-time wrestler and work your way into that.

“It’s going to take some time, but it’s absolutely possible to chase the dream of being a full-time athlete and work a little bit to support yourself to chase your dream 100%.”

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Listen to “5PM55: Recapping Final X with Dennis Hall with words from Koontz, Braunagel and Hafizov” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM54: WCAP’s Ryan Epps and a Final X Greco-Roman Preview” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM53: Northern Michigan assistant Parker Betts and USMC Captain Jamel Johnson” on Spreaker.

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