Without a recent growth in mental maturity, freestyle wrestler Alyssa Lampe may not have won a bronze medal at the 2012 World Championships, she said.
In her semifinal match against China's Yanan Sun, Lampe trailed 4-0 in the second period. In the past, Lampe said she would have given up on coming back from such a deficit, she said. This time, though, Lampe knew she had become a stronger wrestler.
"She was leading 4-0 and I came back and won that period," Lampe said in an interview with USA Wrestling. "I've matured with my mental toughness. Maybe even a couple months ago I would have just given a 4-0 lead up and been like, 'I'm not going to come back from that. There's no point in event trying, so why waste my energy.'"
Lampe won the period, though she eventually lost the match to the Chinese wrestler (1-2, 4-4, 2-2) before moving on to a bronze-medal match, where she faced Abdutalipova Abdutalipova of Kazakhstan. In that match, Lampe came away with a 2-1, 1-0 win in order to claim a bronze medal in the 51-kilogram (112.25-pound) weight class.
Winning a bronze medal at the world-championship level was a big step for the 24-year-old. In the past, national team coach Terry Steiner has spoken about how Lampe sometimes struggles with confidence and mental toughness on the mat. For years, Lampe has been the No. 2 member of Team USA in the 48-kilogram (105.5-pound) weight class.
When she stepped onto the mat for the bronze match of the 51-kilogram weight class on Sept. 27, though, everything was different for Lampe, she said.
"I just wanted it. I knew I could do it after I had that close match in the semis, and I just wanted it," Lampe said in the interview with USA Wrestling. "Now is as good a time as any, so why not?"
She added: "Just … knowing I can compete at this level with these girls is a big help for me."
Lampe previously competed in the 48-kilogram weight class at the 2010 World Championships, where she did not earn a medal.
The 2012 women's world championship tournament took place Sept. 27-29, 2012, in Strathcona County, Canada.
Read more from this author: Leigh Jaynes Fails to Earn a Medal at the 2012 World Championships
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
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