Kelsey Campbell began wrestling ten years ago, but the 27-year-old said she never watched an Olympic wrestling match until she searched for one on the internet after the 2008 Olympic Games.
Before that, Campbell was simply trying to qualify for high-level tournaments and break onto the national wrestling scene, she said.
"I think I might've (watched) a match after 2008," Campbell said during this Flowrestling.org interview. "I was light years away from the Olympics. I was just trying to get into tournaments at that point."
She added: "2008 was a different life for me. I was just happy to be at the trials. It wasn't my time. … I just wasn't there yet in my career."
Campbell is there in her career now. In April, the Arizona State wrestler qualified to represent the United States at the 55-kilogram (121 pound) weight class of the women's Olympic freestyle competition in London. In order to qualify for the team, Campbell defeated top-ranked Helen Maroulis for the first time in Campbell's career.
Even though Campbell wasn't focused on the Olympic Games until recently, she'll still head to London with a bit of international experience. In 2011, she won gold at the Pan American Championships. In addition, Campbell has twice competed in the FILA World Championship tournament, and in 2010 she finished fifth in a non-Olympic weight class.
It was because of her participation in those world championship tournaments that Campbell first realized that she might have Olympic potential, she said.
"I think, when I made my first world team, that's when I started to get that desire," Campbell said during the Flowrestling.org interview. "I had talked about making an Olympic team, but I think making a world team made it more real."
Until the Olympic Games begin, Campbell is just trying to take it one day at a time and do the best she can to prepare for the Olympic tournament, she said.
"I'm just taking it one day at a time. My head's not in London yet," Campbell said. "It's just on today."
Campbell, who is a native of Milwaukie, Ore., is expected to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in the 55-kilogram (121-pound) women's freestyle competition on Aug. 9, 2012 in the ExCeL - North Arena 2.
Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46.
- Sports & Recreation