Wrestler Coleman Scott was a four-time All-American at Oklahoma State and the 2008 NCAA champion at 133 pounds.
This summer, he made his first U.S. Olympic team and captured the bronze medal in the 60-kilogram freestyle in London. He won the bronze medal match in dramatic fashion, scoring a takedown with 15 seconds left in the final period to beat Kenichi Yumoto of Japan.
I started wrestling at 6 years old. My grandfather wrestled. I just sort of wanted to try it one day and just stuck with it ever since. Just loved the sport. I love the individuality of it. You can't blame anybody if you lose. It's your fault.
Joe Throckmorton was my Little League coach and coached me all the way to sixth grade. That's probably the guy that got me where I'm at today. You always start with your base skills, and he was probably the one that taught me everything I know.
When I was 10 years old, in '96, there was just the buzz around the country that was created just with the Olympics being here (in Atlanta). Of course, I took an interest in who won wrestling, and, of course, it was Kendall Cross, an Oklahoma State Cowboy. I was real impressed with that, and that was sort of when I realized that that's what I wanted to do. That was it.
I met John Smith in Fargo, N.D., in 2003, right after the recruiting period started. It was the end of July and he just came up and kept it brief and said, “Hey I would like to have you out for a visit.” My jaw about dropped.
It was so normal to me to walk in and have two, maybe three Olympic champs in the room at a Saturday practice or something (at OSU). That's crazy to think about, that there's people in their lives that never meet one. I think that prepares us. We're around it, and that's what we strive for.
I got a pair of (Smith's) shoes. His early ones, like 1991 or '92 shoes, those purple and black Brutes. I wore them my junior year, just a couple times. But Coach's son, Joseph, he was nagging me forever about them. He loved them. He never really saw (his dad wrestle), he wasn't born. I told him, “When you get a few years older, when you get close to that size, I'll give them to you.” Sure enough, a couple years ago, I surprised him. I wrapped them up for him for Christmas and gave them to him. He loved them. I asked him the other day where they were and he said “Oh, they're hidden up in my room so nobody can find them. I don't want anybody stealing them.”
Just listen. That's what I've done this last year with (Smith) and Coach (Kenny) Monday. I haven't done anything. I show up to practice and say “OK, I'll do that.” I think that was a big part of me taking it to the next level.
When you start believing, you start doing. That's my big thing this year — you have to believe before you can do. I believed I could win, and not a lot of other people did. I use it as motivation. I believed. I knew my core around me believed … but we were about the only ones. I wanted to set out and prove everybody wrong, that I was good enough to do it.
I re-watch that bronze medal match and I read (Smith's) lips there. They showed him right when I was getting up and I was down by a point with 25 seconds left, and he was just saying, “You've got to shoot two, three, four times.” He said it about three times in a row there. Of course, I came out and I shot multiple times and scored the takedown and won the match. That trust factor and just that belief that you have and that comfort of me just saying, “All right, he says it. I'm gonna go do it,” and it works every time.
I just know it got real loud, and I looked up and just saw all the fans in the shirts and Coach and just everybody jumping up. I didn't realize how short the time was until I looked over and I saw there was only a couple seconds left. I sort of started celebrating a little bit.
I don't strive for third place, honestly. I wasn't what I wanted, but it's better than walking out with my head down in fifth place with a participation medal.
When I make three more world teams and win those titles, it'll prepare me (for the Rio Games in 2016). In my mind, still, I was the best wrestler in the weight (class). I just didn't prove it that day. I lost in the semis, and I wrestle that kid (Togrul Asagrov of Azerbaijan) again, I'm going to beat him.