Gaucho Gazette > October 2012 > Academic Affairs
Olympic Gold Medalist Speaks Nov. 7
Henry Cejudo, 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist speaks about “The Culture of Competition” at 7 p.m., Nov. 7 in the main campus Student Union. A presentation of the Honors Forum Lecture Series, it is free and open to the public.
Henry Cejudo, the youngest of six children, was born Feb. 9, 1987, in Los Angeles. His mother, Nelly Rico, an immigrant from Mexico, often moved her family from state to state looking for work.
Motivated by the hardships of his childhood, Cejudo immersed himself in school and athletics. His brother Angel introduced him to the sport of wrestling and Henry quickly focused on winning the World and Olympic championships.
The Cejudo brothers dominated the competition while attending Maryvale High School in Phoenix. Henry won his second state wrestling championship in Arizona. Impressed by the accomplishments of both Angel and Henry Cejudo, Dave Bennet, the national developmental freestyle coach for USA Wrestling, invited Angel and Henry to attend the resident freestyle program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. Both brothers accepted the invitation and relocated to Colorado Springs to follow their dream of becoming Olympic wrestling champions.
While attending the freestyle program at the Olympic Training Center, Henry completed his education at Coronado High School in Colorado Springs. Mirroring his accomplishments in Arizona, he added two more state wrestling championships to his record, and graduated with a combined record of 120-3. He participated in two Junior World Championships, placing fifth in 2005, and second in 2006. He received the prestigious ASICS National High School Wrestler of the Year award in 2006. That same year, he became the first high school student to win the U.S. Nationals since the formation of USA Wrestling’s national body in 1983.
After graduation, Henry took the unusual road to the Olympic gold, foregoing the customary route of a collegiate wrestling program. He trained full time at the Olympic Training Center to prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games. He then went on to represent the U.S.A. in the Beijing Olympics, and brought home the gold. He not only achieved his dream of becoming an Olympic champion, he made history by becoming the youngest American wrestler to ever win an Olympic gold medal.
Henry Cejudo’s compelling journey to Olympic Gold has captivated the nation. He continues to use his celebrity as a platform to inspire millions of young athletes, troubled youth and inner city kids.
Visit the Maricopa Honors Forum website for details and additional presentations.
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