I have to say that the disappointment of not winning a medal is still with me today and will be for a long time. I sacrificed so much and put so many things second to wrestling. I often wonder was it worth it. It is just so hard to put so much into something and not get the results that you expect. The important thing is that I can honestly say that I have no regrets. I wish I would have wrestled a little smarter in the match I lost, but it was not because of lack of preparation, lack of focus or lack of anything. I had a bad match and that happens to everyone at some point in their careers. All I can say is that I gave it my all and it was not meant to be.
Second, I want to congratulate my teammates Sammie Henson, Terry Brands, Cary Kolat, Lincoln Mcilravy, Brandon Slay, Charles Burton, Melvin Douglas, Steven Mays, Jim Gruenwald, Kevin Bracken, Heath Sims, Matt Lindland, Quincey Clark, Garrett Lowney, and Rulon Gardner for their participation in the games and, give Thanks to them for helping to make my Olympic experience more meaningful. I also want to thank them for representing our country with honor, integrity and dignity. Even though they did not all win medals, they did their best, and gave it everything they had. Thanks guys.
I also want to thank our coaches, Bruce Burnett, Greg Strobel, Kevin Jackson, John Smith, Dan Gable, Steve Fraser, Dan Chandler, and Ike Anderson. With out these men we would not have been able to reach for our dreams. Finally I want to thank all of the training partners, families and friends of the athletes and coaches for being such a strong source of support for us all.
Outside of the results, my participation in the Olympic games was one of the best experiences of my life. Even though I did not have the success that I wanted for myself, I was a part of some really extraordinary things.
The feeling that I had when I walked into the Olympic stadium with over 100,000 people screaming and cheering for us will be something that I will always remember and cherish. Seeing all the fans and the other athletes; seeing the torch being lit and raised to its place with the fireworks going off in the background; to be in the company of the worlds greatest athletes all together for one common goal; to give their best and represent themselves, their families, and their countries in the name of the Olympic spirit. Words cannot express what that means to have been a part of.
Things like being a part of the United States having one of the most dominating performances overall at an Olympic Games, Rulon Gardner beating Alexander Karelin to win the Gold Medal, Brandon Slay winning the silver and ending up with the Gold after Alexander Liepold failed his drug test. Seeing our womenís volleyball team do so well, after many people had counted them out. The success of our track and field teams, Laura Wilkinson coming from behind to win the Gold medal in diving, the continued dominance of our swimmers. These are just a few things that made the Games so special to me.
Along with those came the personal things that I will always keep with me. I got to go to Sydney!! I got to meet some incredible people. I got to go to the Whitehouse and meet the President of the United States. I got to be in the audience of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and watch Rulon Gardner represent our sport so well. I was in New York City to see Brandon get his Gold medal on the "Today Show". I was featured in "Sports Illustrated". I have become a part of a very elite alumni group. For the rest of my life I will be an Olympian. That is probably the most exciting and fulfilling thing from the games.
I can go on and on about the many things that the 2000 Olympic Games mean to me, but I will not. I will end this by saying that my Olympic experience was one that I will never forget. I thank everyone that supported me through my preparation and the competition. I thank everyone that has been there with encouragement and support even though I did not win. It really showed me how great the people in my life are and that there is definitely more to life then medals and prizes. I hope that you enjoyed following my journey as much as I enjoyed the journey itself.