USA Wrestling

Sep 22 Are You Experienced

By Ted Witulski | Sept. 22, 2000, midnight (ET)
Since June when seven of the eight weights for Greco were determined at the Olympic Trials in Dallas, the knock on the team has been they're too young and inexperienced. While one of the athletes is still waiting for the magical day he turns the big 2-1, don't bother carding Steven Mays. Mays has been at it a while. How long is a while? Well, chances are Mays could help explain to Garrett Lowney, 20, what growing up in the seventies was like. Steven Mays is number one on the Greco team when it comes to age. At 34 years old don't try and label him as inexperienced. Steven Mays is the veteran on this so-called inexperienced team. And, recently Mays was given the honor by his teammates, the distinction of being named team-captain. As a leader of the Greco-Roman team in Sydney, Mays is surely frustrated by the lack of respect his team has received. Guys like Jim Gruenwald knocked off a World Champion in Dennis Hall. Rulon Gardner defeated American's most storied wrestler in Matt Ghaffari-an Olympic Silver medalist. And, don't overlook what Stephen Mays has done. Steven Mays' ride on to the Olympic plane to Sydney wasn't a cakewalk. In May, Steven Mays of Pensacola Florida, lost to Brandon Paulson in a 1-1 referee's decision at the U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas. Brandon Paulson, the University of Minnesota product, won the Silver medal at the Olympics in Atlanta just four years ago. It's hard to call someone inexperienced when at age 34 they're able to beat an Olympic medalist. Mays has true grit and determination and at the Olympic Trials in Dallas he scored two successive victories over Paulson, showing a flash of dominance by taking early leads in both matches. In the first match, Mays used his frame, which can best be described as lanky, to jack-up, lift, and elevate Paulson for an early takedown just 17 seconds into the bout. Mays, whose need to cut more weight than other wrestlers, could certainly be effected early in the tournament from the effects of the battle at the scale. But, look for Mays to get stronger as the tournament wears on. Steven Mays, an Olympian at age 34, left the wrestling mat early in Dallas before shaking Paulson's hand and getting his arm raised. Mays' excitement couldn't be contained as rushed up into the stands to share immediately the moment with his wife. A person that knows Mays said, "Has supported me fully in my journey as a wrestler." Steven Mays: husband to Melanie; father to Danyiel, Dacia, and Aailyah; boatswain mate in the U.S. Navy; team captain for the Greco-Roman team in Sydney cannot truthfully be called inexperienced. By the end of the tournament in Sydney Mays has his sights set on making sure that he can add "Olympic medalist" to the wealth of experience he already has. Yes, he is experienced.
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