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Issue Date: August 2004 Issue


Fastlane

Toccara Montgomery, women's wrestler

A lot of young girls have Olympic dreams. Not many of those dreams include a half nelson, though. Later this month, Cleveland East Tech graduate Toccara Montgomery, a three-time U.S. national champion and two-time world championship medalist, will compete in a new Olympic sport in Athens: women's wrestling. And the 21-year-old medal favorite in the 158-pound weight class is not just ready to go. She's really ready to go. "I can't wait to get there and get down to business," she says.

What's the one annoying question everybody asks?

The one I get all the time is: "Oh, so you're a wrestler. Jell-O or mud?" Trust me, it's not funny.

Let me guess. You were watching the Macho Man one day when you turned to your mom and said, "Y'know, I think I can do this."

Actually, they had wrestling tryouts at my high school for guys and girls. I didn't even know girls wrestled. So I gave it a shot.

Was it love at first flip?

I hated it. I was so sore after our first workout I can't even tell you. But I stuck with it because it was so challenging.

Your best move?

The power-double. Basically, I take both of my opponent's legs and sweep them in as I'm pushing through them.

That sounds really not nice.

It's not.

Your biggest competition in Greece.

I have a very tough weight class. I'll be going against three former world champions.

When you tell a man you're a wrestler, do you ever get a second date?

Sometimes. My first year in college [at Cumberland College in Kentucky], guys were a little intimidated when they found out what I did.

The secret to your success.

Dedication. I've given up a lot to focus on this: going out with my friends, parties, eating whatever I want. But I have a goal and I'm focused on achieving it.

Do you ever think about standing on the podium with a gold medal?

Oh, yeah. I can't even imagine how emotional I'd be.

Has anyone ever called you Hulkess Hogan?

Not to my face.

What's the girliest thing you do?

I enjoy painting my toenails.

Do you have to spit to make weight?

If I have to lose any weight, I'll do a couple of extra cardio exercises. Spitting to lose weight would take a long time.

Ten years from now, you'll be ...

Hopefully, teaching and coaching a women's high-school wrestling team.

So, hypothetically, if you did wrestle in Jell-O, what flavor Jell-O?

I don't like anything about that question.


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