Chad Gable discusses his experience as an Olympic Athlete
Many WWE Superstars have emerged from various athletic backgrounds, including college or pro football as well as bodybuilding. There are also a number of WWE Superstars throughout history that have competed at the Olympics: The Iron Sheik, Mark Henry and Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, to name a few. Joining that fraternity of Superstars is one of SmackDown Live's recent additions and one half of American Alpha, Chad Gable.
Gable competed as a wrestler in the 2012 Olympic Games in London and sat down with WWE.com on the eve of the 2016 games to discuss his career as an Olympic-level athlete and his transition to WWE Superstar.
WWE.COM: Was competing in the Olympics always your dream?
CHAD GABLE: Not from a young age, no. By the time I hit my senior year of high school I was pretty focused when I discovered the training program at Northern Michigan. I knew then it was a pretty clear goal for me.
WWE.COM: When you started training, were there any Olympic athletes you looked up to?
GABLE: I was coached by Olympic Silver Medalist Brandon Paulson when I was a kid, up until around seventh or eighth grade. It’s hard not to look up to someone like that.
WWE.COM: What kind of preparation did you go through to become an Olympic level athlete?
GABLE: Twice a day, every day for eight years, we trained – spending time in the frozen tundra of Marquette, Mich., on Lake Superior and shoveling your own car out at 5 or 6 in the morning just to get to practice. Yeah, it was brutal.
WWE.COM: When you won the Olympic Trials in 2012, what kind of pressure did you feel knowing you'd be on a different type of global stage?
GABLE: I had competed in multiple world championships before the Olympics, so that the pressure to compete on that stage wasn’t a big deal. At the time, I’d actually say it was more of a relief for me knowing that I made the team than anything else.
WWE.COM: Take us through your Olympic experience. What were the biggest challenges in competing at such a high level?
GABLE: The hardest thing for me was after I lost my second match, you kind of have to just sit back and watch the guy that beat you and almost cheer him on. The reason being the only way you get drawn back in the tournament is if he makes the finals. Cheering for the guy that beat you is really a lose-lose deal for you.
WWE.COM: Outside of competing, what are some of your favorite memories of your Olympic experience?
GABLE: The opening ceremonies were so memorable. Standing next to NBA stars and all the track and field athletes you see all the time. The size and spectacle of it all just blew my mind.
WWE.COM: Competing at the Olympics is not only an astounding personal achievement, but you immediately become an ambassador for the county. Did you feel an extra sense of pride and pressure?
GABLE: Absolutely. We had that drilled into us at an early age and when we started at Northern Michigan, you’re not just doing it for you, your family or even your state – you’re doing this for your country in the long run. You really have to take that in while training and staying focused.
WWE.COM: An Olympic tradition for athletes is to get a tattoo of the six rings. Did you get inked?
GABLE: I did not. I did consider it, but I already have one tattoo and I decided one was enough for me.
WWE.COM: What made you decide to transition from Olympic athlete to WWE Superstar?
GABLE: My life-long dream has been to compete in WWE, long before the Olympics were in my mind. It just so happened that when I finished at the Olympics, the opportunity was there.
WWE.COM: How did your Olympic training prepare you for the grueling training regimen of the WWE Performance Center and becoming a WWE Superstar?
GABLE: The facilities at the Performance Center are very similar to an Olympic training center and jumping right into two-a-days was very similar to my Olympic training. Lifting weights in the morning and jumping in the ring in the afternoon. For me it was the same thing.
WWE.COM: With your Olympic background and your recent draft to SmackDown Live, what's next for Chad Gable and Jason Jordan?
GABLE: We’re going to be at the forefront of a tag team revolution, and we’re looking to capture the WWE Tag Team Titles.