I think I’ll call this one “WHEW!”

When I agreed to do this blog, I don’t think I realized how quickly our lives were about to change. Literally, the past 3 weeks have been a whirlwind, as we tried to continue our daily routines as we also mixed in the demands of being an Olympian’s family. I promise – if I never sit in front of another camera to do an interview, it will be too soon!

Which brings me to this: NEVER, EVER AGREE TO DO AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK BADER! (Just kidding – no…really…) HA!

That’s a story coming in a few days.

Today, I want to talk about J’den.


The kid has hardly had a chance to breathe, it seems. After his trip back from Germany and the Grand Prix where he placed third, he took about 4 days off and took a little vacation to just get way from the crazy. But then, he was right back at Mizzou, doing camps and working out.

Because I hadn’t seen him in several days – and because he asked to see his nieces and nephews – I stopped by the Hearnes Center as he was in the middle of a workout with strength coach Mike Larson, and former MU wrestler – turned Florida beach stud muffin, Johnny Eblen. (Wait…was this before or after Germany? Awwww…heck. It’s all the same story!)

As I walked in, J’den was laying on a weight bench with a weighted ball in each hand doing alternating lifts. He then transitioned to doing deadlifts. I was amazed at the amount of black steel on either end of the silver bar, so I asked Larson how much weight he was lifting. He told me about 315 pounds, but that this was a light day; J’den usually lifts a lot more, but that particular day wasn’t a leg day, so they were going light. (What???)

That transitioned to the craziest light leg day I’ve ever seen in my life, as J’den and Eblen were taken through the ropes – no, literally they were doing these these rope ladder, feet flying, legs moving, sweat dripping exercises that had me amazed just watching!

His day would not end there. He would still need to wrestle – if he hadn’t already done so. His wrestling would either take place at Hearnes (mornings) or at Mike Eierman’s (afternoons) depending on what other obligations he had scheduled for the day. Sometimes, he wouldn’t get to wrestle until 9 or 10 at night, because the daytime schedule was so minute-to-minute, that was the only time he could get a workout in. But he always got it in.

See, I know J’den works hard – I just never realized how hard. All of this was done after he’d spent all day in the camps with his Tiger Style team doing camps for junior high and high school guys AND girls, many of whom have their own dreams of being State and National Champions – and some even, Olympians.

I tell you this story because, now that crazy has died down, I intend to give you glimpses into what has been the most incredible month of our lives, that left us exhilarated and exhausted at the same time! But you have to understand that during all of it, the training never ended for J’den. His schedule was sometimes tweaked, but he put in the work to be the best he could be to represent you to the very best of his ability.

As I finish typing this, it’s about 4:30am. Team USA Freestyle should be just about to touch down in Rio, if they haven’t already. J’den will travel from the airport to Olympic Village where he will continue to train until August 20th when he takes the mat to compete in the most awesome arena in the world – The Olympic Games!

We will join him in Rio in exactly two weeks! Until then, the family will try to catch our breath, and J’den and Team USA will be locked away in The Village working and training harder than ever. And yes, Mike Eierman is by J’den’s side.

Keep praying. Mostly for safety and health now. But pray nonetheless.

See you in a few days.

Go J’den! Go Team USA!

I think I’ll call the next one MEDIA: The Bader Invasion!

What do you think?


Rio Is Real