I am 30 years old and I have one more shot at fulfilling my dream of an Olympic Gold medal before I retire from the sport of wrestling. I need your support and prayers on the road to Rio in 2016!
If I played basketball, football or baseball on the professional level - I would be self-funding as many charitable organizations as I could. However, I wrestle. With minimal funding in man's oldest sport, the purpose of this campaign is to assist in the costs of properly maintaining my health and training on my Road to Rio. Like many professional athletes are paid to do in their jobs, I need to give 100% focus to bettering myself in pursuit of the gold on a daily basis! Amongst the many costs associated with an Olympic training regimen are:
-"Body Maintenance": organic grocery shopping is not cheap (especially for a 225lb world class athlete!) plus vitamins and supplements, etc.
-Physical Therapy/Medical Costs: doctors/specialists, endless hospital bills for past x-rays/MRIs, medical treatments, rehabilitation, regular physical and massage therapy, chiropractic care, etc.
-Travel and what it takes to maintain a healthy regimen while competing or training domestically and internationally
Placed Top Ten in Freestyle World Championships
2x USA World Team Member (2011 & 2013)
2x US Open Champion
10x USA National Champion
3x NCAA All American for THE Ohio State University
NCAA Academic All American
FCA Student Athlete of the Year
2010 Wrestler of the Year (Hodge in USA Wrestling)
My Strength and Motivation:
God. I found my life in Jesus and he is behind everything I do.
I came from a great family that shares an appreciation of wrestling. My dad, former Ohio state champ, did not want to press the sport of wrestling on my 2 brothers or myself. For him, it had to be our choice to wrestle. He knew the commitment and mental strength needed to be successful was what came from within and could not be forced. My brothers and I all started wrestling at the same time - I was 10 years old. My father and uncles coached us all the way through high school. At one point, there were 5 Bergmans, including my brothers and cousins, qualifying for state championships for the Oak Harbor Rockets, coached by my Uncle, George Bergman.
Breaking my back sophomore year was the first major injury I faced in my career. After recovery, I finished my junior and senior year undefeated at 85-0 as a 2x Ohio state champion. During the summers, my brothers and I competed in freestyle and greco roman competition to improve our skills. I won 3 National titles between the 2 styles, which ended up landing me a scholarship at THE Ohio State University.
As a true freshman for the Buckeyes, I started off strong with a NCAA 3rd place finish at 197lbs. By the end of my collegiate career, I had accumulated 3 knee surgeries, torn both shoulder labrums, torn rib and chest cartilage, and various other injuries. I ended up a 3x All-American for the Buckeyes and then set my eyes on becoming the best in the world.
After winning my first 3 matches in the 2008 US Open, I blew out my good knee completely and was sidelined again with my 4th major knee surgery. After a long rehabilitation, I came back in 2010 to win the US Open and the World Team trials and represented Team USA in the 2010 World Championships in Moscow. While remaining undefeated domestically for over a year, I tore a disc in my lower back wrestling in a competition in Belarus in 2011. With my eyes set on a 2011 World Championship, I found out that torn disc was bleeding into my spinal cord. Specialists said that I needed back surgery if I ever wanted to play with my kids one day or even to be able to walk… let alone train for the Olympic dream! Doctors also told me I needed to have shoulder surgery and a 5th knee surgery. I never ended up having any of these recommended surgeries…
What Changed my Life as an Athlete and for my Future:
Since that time, I have been on a mission to do the very best things for my body and to inform others about the incredible power inside each and every one of us. After finishing a heartbreaking 3rd place in the 2012 Olympic trials and all signs pointing towards retirement from the great sport of wrestling, something amazing happened! It became clear that I could continue my life long pursuit of Olympic glory by upping my commitment to overall health and daily habits. This included a drastic change in my training, nutrition, and mindset. In 2013, I won my second US Open and USA World Team trials and wrestled in the 2013 World Championships in Budapest. My current goal is to win the 2015 World Championships in Vegas and the 2016 Games in Rio. In the meantime, I love helping as many people as possible become healthier: spiritually, mentally, and physically. I have become a health and wellness specialist & a professional speaker with a passion to share the truth nationwide.
I have served on 5 different committees with USA Wrestling over the years. I've coached, and taught countless young wrestlers, not only to become better athletes, but better people. Sharing the importance of health and motivating others to improve their lives is my next life initiative behind my Road to Rio.
I will be uploading videos and articles because I want people to know the real me. I have a heart for entertainment, motivational speaking, and making people laugh. I'm excited to meet the many wonderful people that support my dream and share in my passion to share truth and love to all.
-Role in the movie Foxcatcher starring Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo
-Sports commentator with BigTen Network & Buckeye-vision
-Motivational/professional speaker & emcee
*Shout Outs - please provide your Social Networking and/or contact information according to the sponsorship.
**Shipping for all bracelets, photos and t-shirts will take place during the campaign and the 2 months following - just in time to sport your Road to Rio merchandise for my run at the 2015 World title!
***All phone/webcast/appearance engagements depend on mutually agreed upon time, date and travel arrangements.