Travis Paulson hasn’t wrestled in a tournament in more than a year. His twin brother, Trent, is a decided underdog at his weight class.
Yet neither has ever felt better about his chances of becoming an Olympian.
The Lewis Central graduates who combined to win five state wrestling titles and earn six NCAA All-America honors at Iowa State have a much grander goal in mind this weekend at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Trent will compete Saturday and Travis is set to go Sunday at the two-day event that determines who represents the United States at the Summer Olympics in London.
“It would be a dream come true to make it,” Trent Paulson said. “I’ve been working hard all my life for this moment, I’ve dreamed about it and it’s a goal I’ve set. I just know that all the praying and hard work and determination has paid off.”
Despite mirror-image prep and college careers, each twin has taken his own path in freestyle wrestling to the brink of wearing red, white and blue in London.
Trent, at 74 kilograms (163 pounds), was a U.S. World Team member in 2009 and finished second and third at the Trials in 2010 and 2011, respectively. His highlight this spring was a gold medal at the Pan American Championships.
The brothers, who live and train in Ames, had already wanted to avoid a potential Trials encounter. Trent’s impressive Pan Am showing fully convinced Travis to move up a weight to 84 kilograms (185 pounds).
“I knew if he wrestled like that at the Olympic Trials, then he could make the team,” Travis Paulson said. “I wrestled a lot of the guys at the next weight and felt I could make the team there.
“For the opportunity for us both to be on the Olympic team, it was worth a shot.”