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Adeline Gray

The 20-year-old has overcome her share of adversity as she pursues a World medal

By Jason Bryant L

ife hasn’t always been easy for Adeline Gray. The 20-year-old is fresh off a U.S. Open championship at 67 kg/147.5 lbs., but she had to do it after spending nearly nine months off the mat recovering from a knee injury.

Combine that with previous knee injuries, chronic ear infec- tions, and until recently, the inability to enjoy Oreo cookies. Gray, a Denver native, is currently a resident-athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. In the last three years, Gray has gone from one of the top age-group prospects in the USA Wrestling women’s freestyle system to a serious medal threat at the Senior level. But it hasn’t been easy. At the 2010 World Cup in Russia, Gray’s season came to a screeching halt. After finishing fifth at the 2009 World Championships in Herning, Denmark, Gray was ready to earn her first Senior-level medal on her second World Team. She was out of competition after dislocating her kneecap and damaging the medial patellar retinaculum. The canal in the patella allows tissue to pass through from the thigh bone. “There was damage under the kneecap and I messed it up pretty bad,” said Gray. “I was off the mat for eight months, with my rehab. I wasn’t allowed to start drilling until December and the first time I got back on the mat, I got a concussion and had to sit out for three weeks.” Gray’s first competition since the 2010 World Cup came dur- ing a U.S. tour to Bulgaria and Belarus.

In Belarus, Gray returned to the mat with three victories and a gold-medal finish at the Dan Kolov International at the end of February. A week later, Gray went 1-2 at the Medved International in Belarus, to finish a disappointing fifth.

6 USA Wrestler

Adeline Gray captures the 2011 U.S. Open championship in Cleveland. Larry Slater photo.

“I put my leg at about 80 percent right now,” said Gray, just hours before she won the Mongolian Nationals in late April in Ulanbataar, Mongolia. “It’s stable enough to be on the mat. Now, it’s just a work in progress.” Gray started the sport at the encouragement of a cousin at age six, mostly because there were pink shoes and purple leo- tards involved.

“My dad was for it, he understood the sport,” said Gray. “But Continued on page 7

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