Thank You Thursday


"Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it." - Ralph Marston


Thank You Lord! Thank You to everyone who has supported me. With the 2016 Olympic Men's Freestyle competition starting tomorrow Friday August 19th, I just wanted to pass along my appreciation to all of those who have helped to encourage me and have supported me thus far in my career!


As you might know the Olympics Trials didn't go the way I had planned on April 10th. I lost in the semi-finals and just like that my chance to compete for an Olympic Gold in Rio was gone. The disappointment didn't stop there as I also lost my next match in the wrestle backs missing my chance to become a U.S. National Team Member with a Top 3 Finish.


I believe the pain and disappointment I feel with not accomplishing my goal will never truly go away, I do believe it will subside eventually. I will always have it as a reminder of the losses I have felt, faced, and overcome. Without pain your smile doesn't seem as bright. I'm very thankful for the chance to have a career competing and learning the craft of the OLDEST & GREATEST (OG) sport in the world(IMHO)!


This has hands down been the toughest year of my competitive career and for that I'm thankful. I'm thankful for the perspective, strength, growth and determination this year has allowed me to develop so that I'll have another chance to accomplish that goal of becoming an Olympic Champion in Tokyo 2020!


It's about more than becoming an Olympic Champion though. It's about the courage, passion, dedication and the process. Through this process I will learn, grow and change into a better man. I will mature. So to all those that are helping me on this journey Thank You. Thank you for supporting me in my journey to become the BEST ME possible!


I want to thank God for giving me these gifts and allowing me to use them to glorify his name. I want to thank my family for encouraging me and supporting me in so many ways. I want to thank my Gadson Strong Family for the support. Whether you donated your hard earned money or you allowed me to have some of your time through a call or a text, thank you.


To my sponsors & major supporters: Cyclone Wrestling Club, Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club, Lederman's Bailbonds, Shawn Kelly, Keith Moffit, Karen Couves, Bob Antonacci, Kira Hennes, Terrence Thames and many more, thank you.


To my coaches: Kevin Jackson, Trent Paulson, Travis Paulson, Angel Escobedo, Josh Beauregard, Tim Weesner and the rest of my support staff, thank you.


To my parents: Mom thank you for being my rock. Dad thank you for investing in me, miss you.


Up Next University World Championships October 25-30th Corum, Turkey! #68days


1436 days until the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Let's make this #TrekToTokyo together, thank you!!

Faith, Family, and Freestyle!





After (and during) my most recent international experience in Spala, Poland, where I went 0-2 at the Memorial Ziółkowski Open, I started to reflect. While I was reflecting, I was looking over my journey and pondering about progress. I was thinking about what it is and what it really means. After this post, I hope you will have a better understanding of it because I believe that it is truly important to my success, as well as yours.

I've been wrestling for what will be 18 years in December. I'm not sure when was the last time I went to a tournament and didn't win a match, let alone two tournaments in 6 months where I didn't win a match (Alexander Medved 0-1, Ziółkowski 0-2). Then I thought about my other tournaments this year where I didn't place (NYAC 1-2, Olympic Trials 2-2). Next, I looked at my lone Senior Level tournament this year where I placed with a 4-1 record, which was the 2016 Olympic Trials Qualifier in Las Vegas. I added all that up and what I have right now as a wrestler on the Senior Level International Circuit is a record of 7-8. Most important, I have a whole lot of experience and learned lessons about what doesn't win on this new level. To me, this is PROGRESS.

The word progress is a late Middle English word from Latin prōgressus a going forward, from prōgredī to go forth, from prō forward + gradī to go, according to Merriam Webster. In other words, PROGRESS simply means *to go forward*.

Now, some people might look at a 7-8 record, and ask “PROGRESS. How is that progress?” Well, it's PROGRESS because just a year ago, at this point, I wasn't sure I was ever going to wrestle again. I had won an NCAA Title and I could have rode off into the sunset knowing how I finished my collegiate career would probably go down in history and that nobody could take away my NCAA Title (which, by the way, was in one heck of a bracket that now has a World Champ, Two 2016 US Olympians and Two 2016 University World Team members. Not a shabby bracket, at all.) The bracket is sitting in my house somewhere. The trophy is in a container in the basement with my other stuff. The point though, is when I committed to continuing my wrestling journey, I reset my goals to being the "BEST IN THE WORLD!" Thus, I've made progress towards that goal simply because I am wrestling and challenging myself to be better than I was yesterday. Although this year has been extremely tough, frustrating and uncomfortable for me, I have grown so much in this year because I decided to go and catch my dream of becoming an Olympic and World Champion. And although I didn't make the 2016 Olympic Team, I've made progress toward making the next World team, and the next one and more.

After the Memorial Ziółkowski tournament, Joey McKenna, who became a NCAA All-American this year at Stanford as a true freshman and Bronze medalist in Poland, told me, "Fail forward Gadson!" I appreciate those words because he was telling me to keep pushing, and do not allow setbacks to deter me from my goal. He was also saying, "Keep making progress Gadson!" So, what is progress? Progress is the ability to #BeRARE. Progress is the ability to overcome obstacles. Progress is the ability to get uncomfortable and push through that feeling, and grow and learn from your experiences.

As I finish, I want you to think about this: Quitting is the best shortcut to losing and NEVER accomplishing your goals. Some people QUIT due to slow progress. They haven’t grasped that slow progress is still PROGRESS! It might be a slow process but quitting won't speed it up! Always push through! #BeRARE


•  Gadson Strong, LLC.  •  Cyclone Wrestling Club Athlete•  Sunkist Kids Wrestler  •  
Senior Level Athlete  •  World and Olympic Hopeful  •


I Made It. Back To The MAT!

"There are only two options regarding commitment: you're either in or you're out. There's no such thing as life in between." - Pat Riley

For me this whole journey was/is about growing AND improving while I continued to make choices and decisions that are based on what I want for myself in this life and the next. God is in control.

"We've got a long ways to go, but we'll get there buddy! December 31, 1998! - Your Dad"

Jeremiah 29:11 reads: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

I had a tough tournament at the 2016 Olympic Trials went 2-2. Started the day off with 2 victories before falling in two straight. There are things I need to improve; there are things I will improve on. I'm truly blessed to be in the position I'm in right now.

I remember in 2010 at this time I was getting ready to go under the knife (surgery) for a labrum tear in my left shoulder after finishing my high school career with another state title. I made it back to the mat.

In 2011, at this time, I was getting ready to wrestle in my last freestyle tournament before this year at the FILA Junior Nationals. I won that tournament and tore my labrum and would be required to have surgery on my right shoulder if I wanted to wrestle again. I made it back to the mat.

In 2012, at this time, I had just come off another labrum tear on the other side that also required surgery. Also, we had found out my Dad was battling Stage IV lung and bone cancer. I made it back to the mat.

In 2013, at this time, I had just loss my Father to Stage IV lung cancer and didn't know if I would continue wrestling. I made it back to the mat.

In 2014, at this time, I had told my Mom that I no longer wanted to wrestle because it wasn't FUN anymore. I made it back to the mat.

In 2015, at this time, I had just finished up my collegiate career with an awesome win in the NCAA Finals and an amazing post match interview: "I Just Want Some Ice Cream, Man!," and not knowing if I wanted to continue wrestling. I made it back to the mat.

Now, here I am in 2016 at 23 years old and I had the opportunity to get closer to my childhood dream of becoming an Olympic Gold Medalist. And although I didn't become an Olympian today I got closer to that dream. The best teacher is experience.

I will continue to commit myself to the process of becoming the BEST version of me while pursuing the dream of becoming the BEST IN THE WORLD!

I want to truly thank God for all He has done for me and in me. I want to thank my parents for being who they are and building who I am. I want to thank my coaches who have invested time and effort in my development as a young man and as a wrestler. I want to thank the Sunkist Kids and the Cyclone Wrestling Club for all the support. Also, I want to thank my Gadson Strong Family and those who have followed and supported me on this journey and who will continue to follow and support me.

All is well; it's all a part of the process. It's the beauty and pain of commitment! Nothing is guaranteed! You have to take what you believe you've earned! If I've learned anything about myself it's that failure will not define me. I'll continue to strive to be better and improve! I'll be back!

No one promised me comfort. To get to where I want to be I know there is going to be failure, struggle, discomfort & pain. I must embrace it! I will embrace it!

Kyven Gadson




Embrace The Struggle

"For what it's worth ... it's never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you're not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again." -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

4,974 miles. 0-1. Belarus was a long way to travel for one match. Not only was it just one match - I lost! It was one match and I didn't connect to the #BeRARE mentality. I failed to be relentless, aggressive, resilient; and most importantly, I failed to execute, which is my biggest disappointment.

Coming into my first true international competition I kind of knew what to expect: a different style, different routine, different opponents - basically, expect everything would be different. The approach doesn't change, though. Like I've said before, "No one promised me comfort. To get to where I want to be I know there will be struggle, discomfort, and pain. I must embrace it!" I WILL EMBRACE IT.

If I didn't want this challenge I wouldn't have decided to catch my childhood dream and wrestle anymore. I needed this pain to become stronger, tougher, and humbler; to be a champion and do the work of an underdog. I needed this adversity to become more of the champion that I will be today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life - not just in wrestling, but in every facet of life from Faith to Family. I needed this to become even more RARE.

One of the most important things I've learned in life is that I have to be honest with myself if I want to get better. If I don't do that then I don't deserve to win. I know that I have to get better and will continue to find ways to do that.

Short story, though...while I was briefly back home in Waterloo, IA before this trip overseas, I was talking with a friend of my father's. He recounted a conversation he had had with my Dad during my freshman year of high school when I had been held out of wrestling because I had a C+ on my progress report. He'd asked my Dad, "Don't you think you're being too hard on him?" My father pondered his question and responded, "It's hard to make a champion. Kyven will be all right!" - Willie Gadson

Expect another blog where I will go in depth about that conversation. Juicy stuff! But those words my Dad spoke to his friend are resonating with me after this tournament. My focus now shifts to April 10, 2016 to the Olympic Trials in Iowa City, IA. This will be my opportunity to make the Olympic Team in my birthplace. That's my focus and goal. If I can't make the team then I don't get to compete when and where it really matters, which is in August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

I know this experience is all a part of God's plan for me. And although I don't like the way I'm feeling right now, I know the only way to fix it is to continue to trust in God's plan, push through this discomfort, figure it out, do the work, and make the adjustments necessary to obtain the end goal that I have set for myself.

So, as you finish reading this blog and head into your day, know that it's hard to MAKE a champion. You will be all right!

One more thing, get it in your spirit that "PAIN is part of the process in PROGRESS!"


BeRARE #RumblingToRio

Show Showtime Some Love

Hey everyone:

I will be traveling to Europe to wrestle on February 18-19. I’m doing a quick fundraiser prior to the Medved International Tournament in Minsk, Belarus. By donating $50 USD or more, your name will be entered in a drawing to win an autographed backpack with a picture of me after I won the 2015 NCAA Championship. It’s shown in the blog. Click on the Donate button on this website. Donations of any size are welcome. The contest starts February 1 at 10:59 p.m. and ends at 10:59 p.m. CST on February 13.

I greatly appreciate any support you can give.

Thank you,

Kyven Gadson