Kyle Dake's time has come. After years of falling just short in the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials and watching Jordan Burroughs represent the United States in the Olympics, Dake is finally set to make his Olympic debut in Tokyo. The 30-year-old swept Burroughs at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials in April, making it abundantly clear why he should be considered one of the top U.S. wrestlers headed to Japan.
As part of our preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to a wide range of athletes to learn more about their lives on and off the field of play.
Here’s some of what we found out about Kyle Dake:
Where does your family come from?
Mixture of Western Europe.
Parent influence on athletic career?
Hugely impactful. Without them I would not be where I am at today. They would wake up in the early hours of the morning to drive me hours away for wrestling tournaments every weekend. They’d pack up my brother and sister and we would be on the road. My mother always told me to believe in myself, even when I was the smallest kid in my class and felt even smaller. "You can do anything, just set your mind to it." She was my motivator when I was feeling down, and my cheerleader when I was soaring. My dad taught me what it meant to work hard and have fun. He woke up every morning at 4:30 AM to get to work early so he could be there after school was out to coach me in all my youth sports, but where it made the biggest impact, in the high school wrestling gym. He is a contractor and works his tail off every day, and taught by example.
How has your hometown (Ithaca) shaped who you are today?
Small town close knit community who have always been in my corner from my high school days through my college career and today. I’m proof that it doesn’t matter how big your school is, you can still be something great if you are willing to put in the work.
How much time do you train? How much do you sleep?
About three to four hours a day physical training, one or two hours watching film or studying. Sleep about nine hours.
What's your favorite workout?
Forty-five minute spar and one match.
Seasonal diet, organic grass-fed and pasture raised meats with a ton of fish.
Earliest memory of wrestling?
Holding my first wrestling trophy when I was 5.
Specific breakthrough moment?
Summer between high school and college, I realized I could win at a high level.
Earliest memory of watching the Olympics?
2008 watching Henry Cejudo become the youngest gold medalist in USA Wrestling history.
What would you change about your sport?
I wish we had a professional league that cities could get excited about their team.
Which Winter Olympic event would you like to try?
Beat the Streets. Helps young kids get away from city violence and channel that energy towards wrestling and something positive.
Playing with dogs, hanging and cooking with family and friends.
Advice you'd give a young wrestler?
Have fun and learn from as many people as possible.