Former Olympian Recalls Opening Ceremony

Suddenlink-served Stillwater, Okla., has strong ties to this year’s Olympics.  Oklahoma State University Wrestling Coach John Smith won gold as a wrestler in 1988 and 1992, and was honored as one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All Time in 1996.  This year – as in 2000 and 2004 – he’s a Team USA coach. 

Smith continues to coach Stillwater resident and 2012 Olympian Coleman Scott.  The former OSU wrestler will go for the gold in the men’s 60 kilogram freestyle competition in his first Olympics, and will be the 41st wrestler from powerhouse Oklahoma State to make the Olympic team. 

Coach Smith recalls the feeling of winning gold, but says, “When I was in Seoul and Barcelona as an athlete, I went to the opening ceremonies and walking through that tunnel with 300 athletes from the United States of America, I don’t know that there is a prouder moment. Just to be representing your country at the biggest sporting event in the world – you can’t describe it. I would say looking back, that was more exciting than standing up and receiving my gold medals. Part of that was because I lived every night of my career seeing myself stepping up on that stand and receiving that medal, but I never expected the feeling I had walking through the tunnel and coming out on the track for those opening ceremonies. It was just a phenomenal feeling to hear the crowd roar in appreciation of your country. Those were great memories.”

Learn more about John Smith’s thoughts on the upcoming Olympics in an interview on the Oklahoma State Cowboy Wrestling website.