Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - September 20, 2012

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H e started competitive wrestling when he was 7. He began competing na- tionally when he was 8. He traveled across the country — from coast to coast, from tournament to tournament — when he was in the eighth grade. He went "international'' as a member of the U.S. junior world team when he was in his mid-teens. He won 185 out of 186 matches and four state championships when he was in high school. On top of all of this, Jesse Tielke's seven-year plan is just kicking in — a well thought-out plan that was conceived when he committed to Barry Davis and the Wisconsin wrestling program in July of 2010. "From the very beginning, I wanted to be in the best in the world, and this is the path that I had to go,'' he said. "There was no way around it. There were no shortcuts, especially in a sport like this.'' For now, he's just getting his legs under him, so to speak. Such a transition was fully expected; the transition from Greco-Roman wrestling — one form of Olympic wrestling — to folk-style or col- legiate wrestling. This was all accounted for in the plan; the one year that he would spend at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs fol- lowing his graduation from Germantown High School. Tielke's bid to make the U.S. Greco-Roman team for the 2012 London Olympics fell just short. But he didn't show up on the UW campus emp- ty-handed. In early September, he won a bronze medal in the FILA Junior World Championships; his first medal on the world stage. But he didn't leave Pattaya, Thailand, the site of the competi- tion, without feeling that he deserved more; like a chance at the gold. "I was definitely happy with the bronze because I had never won a match before (in three previous Junior Worlds),'' Thielke said. "But I was so close to being in that gold medal match and I felt that I could have beaten the Russian (Zaur Kabaloev, the eventual gold medalist). I'm not excited about that — to have it taken away controversially in my eyes and a lot of other people's eyes.'' There was a major scoring dispute in the first period of Thielke's semifinal match against Iran's Ramin Taheri. The ruling went against Thielke, 40 » VARSITY SEPTEMBER 20, 2012

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