Kelsey Campbell

Kelsey Campbell celebrates after a match. / Photo by Larry Slater

Name: Kelsey Campbell

Sport/Event: Women’s Freestyle Wrestling

DOB: 6/5/85

Hometown: Milwaukie, Oregon

Current Residence: Colorado Springs, CO

Years competing: Nine


How did you get started in your sport?

It was a bet, more or less, that got me involved in wrestling. (Editor’s note: Kelsey Campbell truly went out for the high school wrestling team on a bet).

What are some notable highs from your career?

Making the Olympic Team a month ago tops the list. My first U.S. Open Title in 2009 and my first World Team in 2010 were definite highs in my career. Taking second at World Team Trials in 2009 was a low, as was losing in the first round at the 2011 World Championships.

What is the lowest point you’ve experienced?  How did you bounce back?

When I lost first round at World’s last year, I was feeling a lot of things and definitely questioning myself as an athlete. I felt like everything I’d done in my career up to that point had been wrong. Maybe it had been, I don’t know. Whatever the case, I bounced back in the only way I could: I got up in the morning, went about my day, went to practice, ate my meals three times a day—I just kept going, I guess.

I definitely started doing a lot of things differently in my training and working on my mental game. However, before I could even get to that point where I was making changes in my approach, I had to realize that the sun still comes up, even on my bad days. 

What are your goals, both short term and long term? 

Short term, I’m training and aiming to win a gold medal in London. Long term, I’d like to be the second two-time Olympian for women’s wrestling. We’ve only had one thus far, so pulling that off would be a great honor.

What surprises have you experienced in your career?

I think, most recently, making the Olympic Team was a little bit of a surprise. I wasn’t the favorite and even in my mind I was just prepared to wrestle my best and let the results be what they may.

What brought you to Oregon?

My parents divorced when I was really young, about six or seven years old. A lot of my family on my mom’s side lived in Oregon. We needed a lot of help financially, so Oregon was the best place to go.

What is your favorite thing about Oregon athletically?

In the professional sports that Oregon has, people take a lot of pride in them. I wish there were more, actually. In terms of training, I like that there are a lot of hills. As a runner growing up, that was a great thing to have right outside my front door.

When you’re not training or competing, what do you like to do?

Nothing too spectacular. I love just going out to eat and watching movies with friends. I like reading. My career keeps me pretty busy, so when I have down time, I really like to relax. 

Hobbies? Favorite restaurant?  Favorite hangout?

I love singing and songwriting. I also love to dance. I would say my current favorite restaurant is The Outback Steakhouse. I love just hanging out at coffee shops and doing Bible studies with people.

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