By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
When Coleman Scott took to the streets of Times Square in New York City, he was looking to join a long list of former Oklahoma State University wrestlers to be called Olympians.
With the uniqueness of wrestling outdoors under the bright lights of Broadway show billboards, surrounded by the honking of cars and taxis and sitting through a slight rain delay, Scott did just that — becoming the 41st Olympian to once wear an OSU onesie.
“It was a crazy atmosphere. Coach (John) Smith kept trying to prepare me for the venue and everything, and afterwards he looked at me and goes, ‘Yea, I don't think I could have prepared you for that,’” Scott said. "It was just nuts.”
With a win under the New York City lights, Scott was the last U.S. freestyle wrestler to punch his ticket to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Scott made a promise to his former college coach, who still works with Scott in Stillwater. That the new signs adorned in the North entryway of Gallagher-Iba Arena that promote all the significant numbers of OSU's wrestling tradition would have to be altered after this summer.
“I’m very grateful to be a part of that tradition, but in my mind I still want to be part of the elite — I want to be an Olympic champ,” Scott said. “I think the wall says 15 Olympic medals and 11 golds. I want to make that 12.
“I told John that he was going to have to change it. So I’m hoping I’ll be able to hold him up to it. You know, I’m part of the Olympic group, but now I want to be an Olympic champ.”
With the Summer Olympics scheduled to kickoff in London later this month, Scott admitted he is getting a little antsy to get overseas and start competing for the United States.
“I can’t freaking wait to get over there, but like I’ve been telling myself, I’ve got to just calm down and take it one step at a time,” Scott said. “I don’t need to waste all my energy in training now, because I’m still about five weeks out from competition — which is a pretty long time.”
Fortunately for the newest Oklahoma State Olympian, he has some veteran coaches to help keep him on track. Scott has been working with both Smith, a former Olympic gold medalist, as well as coach Kenny Monday, a former OSU All-American wrestler who is also an Olympic gold medalist.
“They can just say something and I’ll listen because they’ve done it. They’ve won. They’re Olympic champs. They know what it takes to win on this stage,” Scott said. “... I think that has helped me out a lot, that they have done it all before and know what it takes. So I’m just going to continue to listen.”
The former Oklahoma State wrestler won’t be alone in his trip to the Olympics. Not only will Smith be in his corner as a volunteer coach for the U.S. team, Scott said there will be around 70 close friends and family joining in his journey.
“My wife’s a go-getter. She booked rooms for everybody going, so we’re all staying in the same apartment complex,” Scott said.
“I made it so late that it was difficult to get everybody in the same hotel, so she found us an apartment complex and booked all 68 or 70 people in the same one. So we are set to go.”
Scott said he felt the accomplishment of making it to the Olympics was also a nice way to give back to all those family members and friends who have followed him throughout his career.
“It’s kind of my reward to them, I guess. A lot of them have followed me from my time in Pennsylvania tournaments, through the NCAAs and now the biggest stage in the whole world,” Scott said. “I guess I can reward them with getting to now watch me wrestle in the Olympics.”