Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Can You Smell What She's Cooking? Don't Mess with out Olympic Wrestler Stephany Lee

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Can You Smell What She's Cooking? Don't Mess with out Olympic Wrestler Stephany Lee

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

JUST KNOW THAT WHEN you step onto a wrestling mat with Stephany Lee, it's her mat. The plan is to beat you senseless and make you look incompetent at wrestling. That plan earned the grappler a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

"I get a kick out of beating people and not getting busted for it," Lee says. Her objective isn't always winning, even though she's nationally ranked second in her weight class. Lee, 27, just wants to kick her opponent's ass.

After unsuccessful attempts to make the Olympic team in 2004 and 2008, Lee is the first to say how little she cares about bowing to the kind of pressure familiar to world-class athletes.

"If I made this team or I didn't make this team, I was still going to marry my wife, Brigg," she says. "Life still goes on. And it doesn't end just because you didn't make the team. So that's how I got over [the pressure]."

Lee's childhood mastery of judo propelled her into wrestling, with encouragement of a high school coach. She was lucky enough to grow up in Hawaii, where many schools offer female-only wrestling leagues. Those who broke through the glass ceiling of competitive wrestling, however, had to train and grapple with the boys while also dealing with discrimination from the sidelines. …

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