Former Iowa State University wrestler Cael Sanderson made his first public appearance back in the state after winning a gold medal at the Olympics in Athens. Cael Sanderson returned to the campus in Ames where he first became a legend by compiling a 159-0 record in his college matches and winning four national titles. Sanderson then met the expectations created by that stellar college career with the gold medal in the 185-pound class of freestyle Olympic wrestling. Sanderson remained soft-spoken and modest about his accomplishments in college — and it appears he’s still that way, even though several hundred people turned out to honor him in front of the Iowa State Campanile. He says it’s very humbling and says he doesn’t know why people would come out at lunch time to see him, but says it means a lot to him. Sanderson gave credit to his coaches and training partners who help him prepare for the Olympics, and also thanked the fans in Iowa and the U.S. who rooted for him in Athens. He says, “I would not want to take any of the credit because I know what everybody put into it.” Sanderson says everyone put in so much time including his wife who was always there, “She’s supportive when I needed support and she told me I needed to suck it up and quit being a sissy when I needed to suck it up and quit being a sissy.” While he’s humble about what he accomplished, he admits it has been his dream. He says, “I’ve always planned on wining a gold medal, and that was something I think help me out a lot in Athens.” He says dreaming of it for so long definitely helped him. Sanderson talked about the expectations on him after the undefeated college career. He says the pressures between the streak of wins in college and getting the gold medal were a lot different. Sanderson says if he goes into coaching he would have a lot of experiences to use in helping the athletes. Sanderson has worked in the I-S-U athletic department since graduating and while training for the Olympics. He says he’s not sure exactly what the future holds now — but says he’d like to continue in some capacity with I-S-U — possibly as a coach. Sanderson isn’t sure if he’ll put his singlet back on in four years and go for the gold again. He says he can’t say right now, “If I get that fire and I wanna go for another one, I’ll definitely do it.” Sanderson will also be honored at halftime of Saturday’s I-S-U football game.
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