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Germantown's Jesse Thielke comes home after winning U.S. Open

Posted at 7:08 PM, Jan 02, 2023

"I gotta represent. World class athlete program. Go Army, ho!" Thielke says.

Jesse Thielke joined the Army. But that's not the only change for the Greco-Roman Olympian the last few years.

"I got hitched. I got married," Thielke says. "Yeah, very, very lucky lady. No, I'm the lucky one. So I was coaching. I lived at the Olympic Training Center in 2016. You know, I made the Olympic team. And after that? I moved to South Dakota. And I was coaching and training at Legends of Gold. And so I had always, you know at some point, planned on enlisting and joining WCAP because there's just no better place to train Greco in the senior level in the United States. And so as soon as I met her? That just really gave me the motivation it's like alright, no more excuses. So now we're the Thielke's. And I went to basic training in 2020."

Thielke came back to Ringers in Menomonee Falls, teaching younger wrestlers about his recent success.

"This past year is the first time I've ever won the U.S. Open. I've never won the U.S. Open," Thielke says. "I always lose in the semis, somehow. Some way. But this year is the first time I doubled up and won the Open and the World Team Trials and so yeah, it was really good."

And hopeful future goals.

"Four junior world teams," Thielke says. "Three senior world teams. And an Olympic. You know, we've been on almost ten Olympic and world teams at the junior and age group levels. So it's not something new. It's something I've been there before. I've done it. But it's always just, it's an honor. You know, it's an honor. It's exciting. And to know that I'm the number one guy representing our country and our best shot at a medal at our weight class is it's a good feeling. Once we get a couple golds, then maybe we'll be satisfied."

Now he just wants his sport to get more respect.

"I've been wrestling for 23 years now," Thielke says. "Almost you know, 24 coming up on this next year. That's a quarter century man. I just wish people would you know, drop the negative connotation with Greco wrestling in the United States because this is the only country that does that. They're not as successful as women's freestyle or men's freestyle. But they're not invested in it whatsover. So it's kind of hard to build culture and get the results you want if you're not going to put the time, effort and money into it."

Thielke is 30, he's wrestled for 24 years so there's a lot of miles on his body. But the four time state champ from Germantown still has the experience to make another World and Olympic run.

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