American Olympic wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock heaped praise on the United States and expressed her gratitude to God after she won her first gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.
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Mensah-Stock, 28, made history Tuesday when she became only the second woman — and the first black woman — to win an Olympic wrestling gold medal for Team USA in the women’s 68-kilogram freestyle final, according to NPR.
Mensah-Stock bested Nigerian wrestler Blessing Oborududu 4-1 after seizing two takedowns in the first period. Neither woman scored a point in the second period.
“Of course I surprise myself,” a jubilant Mensah-Stock told reporters after the victory. “It’s by the grace of God I’m even able to move my feet. 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.”
“I get better and better,” she continued, “and it’s so weird that there is no cap to the limit that I can do. I’m excited to see what I have next.”
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Noticing the American flag draped over Mensah-Stock’s shoulders, one reporter asked the gold medalist how it feels to represent her country.
The athlete — clearly honored to carry the American flag — said it feels “amazing” to represent the United States.
“It feels amazing,” she said. “I love representing the U.S. I … love living here. I love it. And I’m so happy I get to represent USA!”
As she walked away, Mensah-Stock said she would try not to cry when she stood on the podium to receive her gold medal.