You can’t blame Tamyra Mensah-Stock for wanting to take a break or considering retirement. His popularity skyrocketed after winning the 2020 Olympics last summer.
Not only did Mensah-Stock become the second American to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s freestyle, but she also became the first black woman. Her emotional 4-1 victory over Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu was a tribute to her late father who was killed in a car crash on his way home from one of his encounters.
Mensah-Stock has vowed to buy her mother, Shonda Wells, a food truck with her $250,000 Living the Dream Medal fund winnings, but Cameron Davies – the owner of a food truck manufacturing company called Cruising Kitchens – donated a truck to the family instead.
The world has discovered what wrestling fans have known for years: there’s no one like Tamyra Mensah-Stock.
“I have always been a rare commodity. I think that’s how it’s always been, but now it’s on the world stage. It’s like a big high school. I am certainly no stranger to this.
“I remember in high school meeting so many people I knew in the hallways between classes. I would be a minute late each time. I would hear the first bell ring for this bell three minutes before class started and within three minutes of my run I was saying hello to 10 people – almost every day. Now it’s on a bigger stage.
Mensah-Stock’s biggest stage includes several perks, like a new car, appearances on WWE’s Kelly Clarkson Show and Wrestlemania, and best of all, she got to meet rapper Wiz Khalifa at a PFL MMA fight. . WWE could still be a career move, but nothing has materialized with the company – yet.
The new car was a product of Tamyra being Tamyra. Doggett Ford in Houston noticed that Mensah-Stock said she loves America during her post-game Olympics interview. That’s all it took.
“What! Are you kidding me? I got this free car because of who I am? I love that after I won the Olympics someone wanted to reward me for who I am” , Mensah-Stock said, “It was amazing. They drank and dined me and my husband. They put us in a five-star hotel. I brought my dogs and they had dog treats, beds for dogs and dog toys. It was awesome. It was so awesome.
“The Doggett family – father and son – are amazing. The son used to wrestle and he knows the ins and outs of wrestling. He knew all the names. He knew names that I didn’t even know.
The food truck factored in Mensah-Stock’s decision to revert to 68 kilograms instead of a heavier weight class. United States Women’s National Wrestling Team Coach Terry Steiner suggested three months of training before making a comeback.
Mensah-Stock received an automatic bid for the X final at 68kg, but she was scheduled to compete at the World Team Trials in Coralville, Iowa, May 21-22 if she moved up to 72 or 76kg. The tournament took place the same weekend that his mother received a food truck – so the decision was made to stay at the lower weight.
“I had to be in San Antonio to see my mom’s face when she first saw her food truck,” Mensah-Stock said. “That was the deciding factor.”
Mensah-Stock is also determined to have children, but travel and a busy schedule have prevented that from happening. She’s had many conversations with Adeline Gray – a six-time world champion pregnant with twins – about becoming a mother, but, for this year at least, Mensah-Stock will continue to compete.
This means wrestling regains its most colorful personality and one of its biggest superstars for 2022. Mensah-Stock was pinned in her semifinal match at the 2021 World Championships and came back for bronze. She has an opportunity to avenge that loss after winning back-to-back matches against Sienna Ramirez, 14-3 and 10-0, at Final X Stillwater.
Mensah-Stock defeated Sienna Ramirez 24-3 in her two matches at Final X Stillwater
Steiner was instrumental in getting Mensah-Stock to see wrestling in a new light. A few opportunities have been dropped over the past eight months, which has made the decision to compete much easier.
Along with solidifying her legacy as a wrestler, Steiner wants Mensah-Stock to look to the next generation. She has an opportunity to lead with a strong World Women’s Team, but a Division I coaching job could be her next game. Staying through 2024 allows women’s college wrestling to thrive as its standing continues to grow.
“Everyone wants to be around Tamyra in this sport and around this sport,” Steiner said. “It’s not just because of the kind of wrestler she is – it’s the kind of person she is. She has something unique to offer. It’s just to help him understand that.
“She can be a big influence for a lot of years. What she does over the next two years will build on what she started and really stand out from everyone else. She has the ability to do that. No matter how much you love something, you don’t always want to do it. It’s not always pleasant. You really have to work sometimes to get yourself in the right mindset to accept and absorb what’s in front of you and what platform you have.
A ranking series event in Tunisia from July 14-17 is Mensah-Stock’s next scheduled competition before the world championships. It’s another chance for wrestling to see one of its greatest performers on an international stage.