Thursday, November 15, 2018
Sports

Clearwater's Jared Frayer leaves Olympics without a medal

LONDON — It took Jared Frayer a lifetime to get to the Olympics. It took him an instant to get out.

Frayer, a former Countryside High standout wrestler, lost his opening 66-kilogram match Sunday to Ali Shabanau of Belarus. Frayer had a chance to stay in contention for a bronze medal if Shabanau reached the final, but Shabanau lost his next match.

Someday, perhaps, Frayer will look back fondly on finally reaching the Olympics, but not now. Now he was disappointed and a little bit ticked.

"It's … not embarrassing, but it's not what I came here to do," he said. "It's frustrating because I know how much the coach has put into me, and I know how good I was feeling.

"I was fighting an unorthodox guy and didn't wrestle the way I'm capable of. It's hard."

One minute into his match, Frayer fell behind 3-0 and was never able to challenge.

"I think the gut wrench kind of took him out of it," said John Smith, one of the Olympic coaches and a two-time gold medalist in the Olympics. "He just didn't respond to that first takedown … got gutted."

Gutted. It's a harsh term, isn't it. But when a wrestler believes he can medal and gets beaten in his first match, it's accurate.

It was a surprise when Frayer, 33, made the Olympic team to begin with, beating favored Brent Metcalf at the trials in April twice to earn his berth.

For Frayer, it was a reward for a career that included barely missing the Olympics in 2004 and 2008. Last week Frayer had said it would surprise others if he medaled in London but not himself.

"The Olympics are an awesome opportunity," he said. "I just wish I had done better."

Frayer said that was the final match of his career. He will return to coaching and to his wife and two daughters. Beckett turned 3 weeks old Saturday. Kloe, 19 months, has Down syndrome.

"I wish I could have done a better job for the people who are here for me," Frayer said, "but I'm still a blessed man."

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