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US gold medal winner's unguarded, faith-filled tears of joy — and patriotic verve — might be best moment of Tokyo Olympics
Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

US gold medal winner's unguarded, faith-filled tears of joy — and patriotic verve — might be best moment of Tokyo Olympics

It would seem that United States Olympic wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock has no time or inclination to act cool or witty or snarky or sassy.

Nope. All she has time for these days is getting ready to hit the mat — and pin her next opponent. Then when she scores her next victory, Mensah-Stock's emotions simply come flooding out.

And at no time was her unguarded, unaffected, pure joy — through tears and laughter — more apparent than when she won the women's light heavyweight (68-kilogram) gold medal Tuesday at the Tokyo Olympics.

"I'm feeling very happy, and I keep trying not to cry, but it keeps happening!" she said, trying to catch her breath, at a news conference with an American flag wrapped around her shoulders following her victory.

Mensah-Stock, 28, became only the second U.S. woman — and the first black woman — to win Olympic wrestling gold, NPR said. She is from Katy, Texas.

A reporter noted to Mensah-Stock in a brief moment of composure that "you started wrestling in the 10th grade" — and BOOM! More tears.

"I knew I could do it when I first started wrestling," she explained while continuing to cry. "I felt like I could be an Olympic champ, so I kept going." With that, Mensah-Stock pounded her hand down and said, "I did it!"

The reporter then brought up her father who died when Mensah-Stock was in high school — in a car accident on the way home from one of her wrestling meets, Yahoo Sports said.

With that, harder tears from Mensah-Stock as she placed her head on top of her arms on the podium as the reporter asked how her dad might be reacting to her victory.

She then stood, cried some more, and rubbed her eyes: "He would be so proud! He would be so happy!"

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @MrPatMineo

Mensah-Stock then broke into a smile when she noted that her late father was from Ghana and that he was "like enemies with Nigeria," which made her final match against Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu "kind of like poetic."

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @MrPatMineo

Jumping up and down

She turned things up a notch when the reporter brought up that women's wrestling has been an Olympic sport only for a couple of decades — and with that, Mensah-Stock began jumping up and down.

"Yeah!" she cried before explaining how proud she is that younger girls can look up to her and perhaps follow in her footsteps.

'By the grace of God'

Mensah-Stock added later in the interview that "it's by the grace of God I'm able to even move my feet. Like, I just leave it in His hands and I pray that all the practice ... the hell that my freaking coaches put me through pays off, and every single time it does, and I get better and better, and it's so weird that there is no cap to the limit that I can do. And I'm excited to see ... what I have next."

And when the reporter asked how it felt with the American flag around her shoulders, she had more than enough gas in her tank to give a shout out to her home country: "It feels amazing. I love representing the U.S. I freaking love living there. I love it. And I'm so happy I get to represent U-S-A!"

Oh, and a food truck for her mom

Yahoo Sports noted that when Mensah-Stock was asked what she would do with the money attached to gold medals, she had a very specific idea.

"I wanted to give my mom $30,000 so she can get a food truck, 'cause it's her dream," Mensah-Stock said, according to the outlet. "And I told her five years ago, 'Alright mommy, I'll get you your food truck, but you gotta be responsible. So my mom's gettin' her food truck!" Yahoo Sports noted, not surprisingly, that she danced from side to side, adding that her mom is "gonna have her little cooking business. She can cook really, really, really well. Barbecue!"

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