Tamyra Mensah-Stock broke barriers and made history as the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in wrestling.
One of the pleasures of watching the Olympics is seeing Black athletes strive in sports that don't get nearly the same attention as football or basketball. Seeing Olympian Tamyra Menhsah-Stock's tearful but joyous interview after she won a gold medal in wrestling—making her the first African-American woman and only the second American woman to earn the acclaim—was definitely one the highlights of an otherwise fraught Olympics, which was plagued by concerns over COVID. Mensah-Stock's emotional backstory adds context to her joyful tears: In 2009, her father died in a car crash after falling asleep while driving back from one of her wrestling matches when she was in high school. She almost quit the sport. "I wanted to stop so many times because I felt like all this pain wasn't worth it," she told Team USA. But she kept competing—and breaking down barriers—on her way to becoming world champion in 2019. Now that she's achieved her dream of Olympic glory, Menhsah-Stock plans to make her mother's dream come true by buying her a food truck. "She's always doing back-breaking work," she said. "I've just seen her struggling ever since my dad died and I don't like seeing it." And the wrestler hopes her story will inspire girls and women to never give up their dreams. "Just because you're female, it doesn't mean you can't accomplish the biggest goals, and being Olympic champ is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life," she said in that viral interview. "I was born for this, I was made for this."