WABASH LITTLE GIANT TEAM WRESTLING CAMP: Slay focused on fundamentals
2000 Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Gold Medal winner preaches basics
Thursday, June 26, 2008 10:30 PM
Brandon Slay believes in teaching wrestling's fundamentals.
Photo provided by Brent Harris / Wabash College
Olympic medalist Brandon Slay (left) wrestles Wabash’s Cory Johnson in Thursday’s camp.
THE SLAY FILE
Name: Brandon Slay
Major Accomplishments: 2000 Olympic Games Freestyle Wrestling Gold-Medal Winner (Sydney, Australia); 1999 Sixth-Place U.S. Nationals Finish
High school: Tascosa (Amarillo, Texas, 1993 graduate)
College: University of Pennsylvania (1998 graduate)
Double Major: Finance and Management
Siblings: 1 sister - Tiffany
Parents' names: Becky and Doug Slay
Residence: Dallas, Texas
Occupation: Director of Young Adult Community at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas. He's also a motivational speaker.
Hobbies: Snowskiing, riding his mountain bike, wakeboarding, reading books and drinking coffee
One thing people don't know about him: There are three main foods he hates - curry, olives and maraschino cherries.
They're what helped him go from a little-known high school wrestler in Texas to a top-10 U.S. National place-winner all the way to a 2000 Sydney (Australia) Olympics Freestyle gold-medalist.
He kept his head up and put on the pressure.
"I really am passionate about teaching the basics," Slay said. "I think it's in a young man's brain to learn the tricks and the cool moves. But ultimately, that's not what really wins you the State championships or the National or Olympic titles. (Wrestling) is about strong, solid (and) basic skills."
Slay is one of four Olympic Team medalists or members who are teaching at the camp this week. He, along with 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Rulon Gardner, 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Kendall Cross and 2004 Olympic Team member Eric Guerrero are teaching 170 wrestlers from ages 8-and-up in the five day camp.
Slay, 32, won his 2000 Olympic gold medal after losing in the finals to Germany's Alexander Leipold. Leipold later tested positive for Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, and Slay was awarded the gold medal.
Wabash College wrestling coach Brian Anderson contacted Slay about teaching at his Little Giant Wrestling Team Camp earlier last fall.
Although Slay had never been to Crawfordsville or Wabash College, he said he's always up for going to new places to teach wrestlers - especially about the fundamentals.
This year marks the third year of the Little Giant Wrestling Team Camp - which included wrestlers from Crawfordsville, North Montgomery and Southmont High Schools, along with other area and state high, middle and elementary schools.
Since it started in 2006, the camp has had seven Olympic wrestlers - including Slay, Gardner, Cross and Guerrero this year, Steve Abas (2004 Olympic Silver Medalist), Sammy Henson (two-time Olympic Silver medalist in 2000), Joe Williams (two-time Olympian).
Slay and Gardner have actually worked together in the past. Before Slay went to the Olympics, he moved out to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado and trained with Gardner. He's also worked and taught at previous camps with him before.
Slay tells campers and young wrestlers they need to master five basic skills: keeping their head up, back straight, hips in, staying off their knees and putting on pressure.
"Those are the nuts and bolts of wrestling," he said. "If you don't do those five things well, you're not going to win many matches."