As time expired at the U.S. Wrestling Senior Nationals this October, Olympic redshirt senior Logan Massa made the finishing move on his opponent Anthony Valencia. With drops of sweat streaking down his face, Massa lifted up his arms and cemented himself as the back-to-back freestyle champion. Almost immediately, though, Massa drowned out the noise around him and lasered in on his next challenge: competing for the United States at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Massa is coming off a redshirt year, which allowed him to train with the University of Michigan wrestling team while preparing for a spot on the Olympic team in the 74-kg weight category at the same time. But with the season cancelled last year due to COVID-19, Massa is redshirting again this year to resume his training.
“To be selected for the Olympic team, that would mean a lot,” Massa said. “To compete for the United States, that’d be a dream come true. It’s what I’ve trained my whole life for.”
When COVID-19 hit, Massa’s goal was put on hold, but he didn’t remain idle during the break. Even while being locked down at home, he did track workouts and lifted weights in his basement, anything he could to be ready when the time came to compete again.
“I was doing what I could on my own to stay in shape and stay ahead of the game for when it was safe to start competing again,” Massa said. “I’m a competitive person. When I get on the mat I’m not there to have fun, I’m there to win.”
And Massa’s mentality during the lockdown paid off. With a recent win back in September over two-time Olympic bronze medalist Bekzod Abdurakhmonov, Massa flashed his potential for the world stage.
“When I got the opportunity to compete against Bekzod, I knew I had to take advantage of it even with the pandemic,” Massa said. “I came up with a gameplan on how to train and I stuck to it, and I came out victorious. I’ve known that I could compete with these guys and beat these guys for a while.”
To Massa, the final result on the mat speaks to his physical and mental preparation.
“It’s essentially me versus myself. If I lose, it shows that I got to work on what I got to work on,” Massa said. “I don’t have teammates that I can place the blame on, so the results speak for themselves. If you work hard in the sport of wrestling you get rewarded.”
And with the wrestling season back on track, Massa picked up right where he left off with his win at the Senior Nationals in October. Now, he has his sights set on fulfilling the goal he’s had for his entire life.
“I’ve been around these guys who are Olympians who have competed at the Olympic games, I’ve had coaches that are Olympians,” Massa said. “But I don’t just want to make the team, I want to win the Olympics. I want to get a gold medal and be standing up on top of that podium with the American flag and the National Anthem going, my hand over my heart. Do it for everyone back in the United States.”
“That’s my dream, that’s my goal, that’s what I want to do.”
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