Every day during the Olympics, SIOC will feature an Olympian who's also a college student. Today, Northern Michigan senior and Greco-Roman wrestler Spenser Mango chats about black socks, gymnastics and Queen Latifah.
This interview was conducted before Olympic competition began. Mango finished eighth in Tuesday's Men's Greco-Roman 55kg final.
Name: Spenser Mango
School: Northern Michigan University (Olympic Education Center)
Major: Physical education
Olympic event: Greco-Roman wrestling
Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
What is the best part of being in the Olympics?
I think just to show all the people that supported you for so long that all the training is worth it and has paid off.
How'd you get your start in your sport?
Well, I just did it for fun my junior year of high school and I ended up wrestling full time when I got out of high school. Northern Michigan is a Greco-Roman program. I did it just for fun and ended up doing well in nationals. In Missouri, we've got the high school freestyle wrestling. But it was only $100 more to do Greco, so I did it. I ended up placing third in nationals and my senior year I ended up getting second.
Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?
Not really. I wear black socks. I have kind of always done it. I mainly just think black socks look better.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully I will have won a couple of Olympic titles.
If you could take part in any Olympic sport besides your own, what would it be?
Gymnastics. I'm not good at it and I don't know anything really about it, but I think it would be pretty cool to be a gymnast.
What's the best Olympic freebie you've gotten so far?
Probably the uniforms that we wrestle in.
What's your favorite kind of Chinese food, and how much of it are you planning on eating while you're in Beijing?
Actually I am becoming a big fan of sushi. And yeah, I hope to eat some of it while I am there. [Editor's note: sushi is Japanese, not Chinese]
Is there anything you're hoping to see/do in China?
I really want to go sightseeing. My brother went there last year and he went to the Great Wall. I want to see that while I'm there.
What's your proudest accomplishment in your sport thus far, besides making it to Beijing?
When I won the University World Title in 2006.
How is an Olympic athlete treated on campus?
We get a little leeway with missing classes, with all our competitions. But other than that, nothing really. Yhere was a ton of support and wishing me luck.
Better uniform: your school's or Team USA?
We are not NCAA athletes. So we compete in virtually the same gear.
Have you seen or played the new Beijing 2008 video game?
No I haven't. I have heard of it but haven't played.
What are three movies, TV shows or bands you can't live without?
Lil wayne -- I'm a big rap and hip-hop fan. For TV shows, I watch House, but that's probably about it.
Who is your favorite professional athlete?
Growing up it was Emmitt Smith. I used to be a big football fan and Dallas Cowboys fan.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Do you have any hobbies besides your sport?
Fishing. I mostly do it on lakes.
If you win a medal, what will you do with it?
Give it to my mom. That's what I do for all my medals.