Marine wrestler earns spot on U.S. Olympic Team

A U.S. Marine is going to the Olympic games. Staff Sgt. John Stefanowicz of York County, Pennsylvania secured his spot on Team USA. Specifically, in the Greco-Roman style in the 87-kilograms (192lbs) class. He will head to Tokyo to compete in the Olympics this summer. The Pennsylvania native will be the first U.S. Marine to represent the country in wrestling at the Olympics since 1992.

Stefanowicz, 29, is currently a member of the All-Marine Wrestling Team. They are of based out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina. This past weekend, Stefanowicz competed at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Fort Worth, Texas. He would subsequently win three consecutive matches on the first day.

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen

The following day, Stefanowicz defeated heavy favorite Joe Rau in two rounds to secure his spot. Although Stefanowicz was only the number 4 seed in the tournament, he never gave up hope.

After the victory, Staff Sgt. John Stefanowicz said, “It’s still just so surreal right now, but it feels so much bigger seeing my team, my family, my wife, my brothers and sisters in the stands. It’s amazing. I never thought I’d be here. I never in a million years thought I’d wake up one day and say I’m an Olympian.”

He went on to say, “This is much bigger than myself, and I truly feel that’s been the great power.”

Stefanowicz continued by saying, “The power of God, the power of family, the power of country, the power of Corps. Every time I step out on the mat and I wear USA on the back, that means something greater than just myself and my last name.”

Watch his interview below.

Stay tuned to American Grit for more stories as we follow the journey of Staff Sgt. John Stefanowicz.

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