Olympic wrestling hopeful sets sights on Tokyo after bout with COVID


In an Olympic lead-up like no other, wrestler J’Den Cox has had a training regimen like no other.

“Just grinding any way that I can. At one point in time, I was wrestling in the park. Just literally in the grass. Old school, throwing it back back,” explained Cox.

The 2016 bronze medalist in Rio was training in Columbus, Ohio last year with the Olympic Trials just weeks away. But then the pandemic shut everything down. Cox moved back full-time to Colorado Springs, site of the Olympic Training Center, trying to stay in shape in any way possible. That is, until November when he tested positive for COVID-19.

“At first, I didn’t think that I had symptoms because I got the test results and they told me, you’re positive for COVID and I didn’t really feel anything for the first few days or so,” said Cox.

But it got worse. Cox went to the hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia.

“And then, I got sent home. I was on an oxygen machine for about 2 weeks after that and so I’m walking around this house and to get around, I had an oxygen tank to wheel around with me,” said Cox.

“I’m not training for Kyle. I’m not training for whoever is there,” said Cox. “That’s not to say that I’m overlooking them. I don’t overlook anybody. I’m looking to be the best that I can be and accomplish my goals. Winning the Olympics and being on top of the world.”

The likely battle between the two Olympic medalists and former world champions happens April 2-3 at the U.S. Wrestling Olympic Trials in Fort Worth, TX.

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