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Puyalup Whitney Conder has the opportunity to realize his long-held dream of wrestling at the Olympics

Whitney Conder has had a lot of success in her artificial wrestling career, but it lacks just what she has dreamed of for more than two decades: participating in the Olympics.

That was his ultimate goal when he had to compete against the boys in high school, Puyalup High School. And that has been the goal for more than 10 years as a member of the US team.

He is now 32 years old and gets one chance, probably his last, he says as he competes in the US Olympics in Fort Worth, Texas on Friday and Saturday.

“I’m so excited to be going back to the mat because I’ve not been able to compete for over a year,” said Conder, who told Puyalup High School sophomore Brian Bartelson that he wrestled at the Olympics.

The U.S. wrestling team has been mostly onshore since the start of COVID-19, but Conder trains daily at Team USA Sports Center in Colorado Spring. In the latest national rankings, published more than a year ago, Conder was No. 1 at 50 kilograms (110.2 pounds).

The winner of each weight category in the trials earns a ticket to the Tokyo Games. Sarah Hildebrandt, who was high in the 53 kg weight category, and Victoria Anthony, who was second in the 50 kg category, will be the biggest contenders for the competition.

Kander is already winning by and large on his resume. He won the World Junior Championship in 2007, the gold medal at the Pan-Armenian Games, and six US Open championships.

In 2016, he lost in the 53 kg finals in the Olympic trials. That made him an alternative to the Olympics, but he did not travel to Rio de Janeiro with the team. He’s on a 50-pound mission to recover, but it’s a mission that really started at the age of 8, not long after he first started wrestling.

Conder was born into a wrestling family. Father Monte wrestled at Snow College in Utah, and older brothers Nate and Dustin competed. The Whitney brothers would wrestle with him, և unlike his two older sisters, he liked it. Make him love it.

“I loved it so much that I would never want to miss it,” he said. “It was something that really made me happy.”

Conder joined a wrestling club where his father began training. Determination helped push him, but there was another key to his success.

“He is very flexible, he dreamed of being in the Olympics forever,” said Monte Conder. “He learned the moves much faster than the boys (at the club).”

Being a rare girl in sports had its challenges. Some guys refused to wrestle him, and then there was the irony.

The story the Konder family loves to tell is about a man who told his son before a youth fight that he would give her $ 5 if he beat her, $ 10 if he tied her up, and $ 20 if he tied her up and made her cry.

Conder tied the boy, and Whitney’s mother, Sharon, who overheard the father and son talking, asked the man for $ 20.

“I never heard of that one, it was just my mother, but it was not the first time such things had happened,” Whitney said. “I would like my fathers to come to me and say, ‘Go back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich.’

One day, after beating a boy in the high school final, a father asked Whitney: “Are you sure you’re a girl?”

“I said, ‘Would you like to see a doctor to find out?’ said Conder. “He definitely did not like my answer, he stormed.”

Her parents received phone calls punishing their daughter for leaving the fight. Criticism did not anger them.

“He was coming out on the carpet, literally destroying the children, there were some problems,” said Monte Conder. “But as the parents went, we just sat back and smiled because we were not losing the end.”

As a junior, competing against the boys in the state high school championships in 2005, Conder finished sixth in the 103-pound weight class, and the following year he was seventh. The sixth-placed girl is linked to Olympic High School’s Kemi Yee (sixth in 2008 at 3 103) as the highest-ranked girl in the boys’ competition.

In 2007, a year after the end of the Conders, the girls wrestlers held their first state championship. It was a great year for the Conders, who won the World Junior Championships in Beijing.

“It certainly stands out, because both my parents were there in the stands with the flag raised, it was amazing,” he said.

In 2008, Conder joined the national team, training in Colorado, competing for the country around the world.

Konder joined the military in 2012 as a military police officer, balancing that career with his wrestling career as a member of the World Athletes Program.

The last focus was on the Olympic Games. His search was delayed when COVID-19 postponed the Olympics for a year, but there was never any doubt that he would continue.

“Approving the team is a big deal, but whatever happens, it happens,” he said. “I leave it all on the carpet. I’m just excited to see what happens. I’m in a great position: I know I can do very well.

“I know I can come out victorious, but it’s a heavyweight category, we are all ready to roll. We all want to win it. It will be exciting to see. “

Conder’s parents and brother, Nathan, will be there, cheering loudly.

“I am very proud of what he has done, how much he has motivated the sport, his achievements,” said Nate Conder.

Whatever happens, Whitney Conder, one of the oldest members of the US team, said she was ready to move on. He wants to “get married, have children, have a family, a life outside of wrestling.” Not that he did not appreciate wrestling և to see the world at the expense of the US team.

Conder said his goal is to get a master’s degree in early education / special education.

He was inspired to work with a young wrestler with Down Syndrome, “seeing the urge that he should want to wrestle, to understand everything.”

“It was great to be able to work with him – a truly growing experience. “I want to show children with special needs that they can do whatever they want in life,” he said.

Conders are proof of what can happen when you put your mind to something. She is excited to see how much the struggle of girls and women has grown. What Conder did inspired others, like Bartelson’s daughters, Jord Jord Brooklyn, his high school wrestling coach, who won state titles.

“Being young, I did not fully understand (being backward),” said Conder, who returned to watch the 2019 state wrestling high school championships and signed numerous autographs. “It was amazing to see progress. Not only has it grown in Washington state, but it has grown a lot in the world. It’s the fastest growing sport for women. “

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