U.S. wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock not only became the first U.S. Black woman to win gold in women’s wrestling earlier this week, but she also just so happens to love singing karaoke.
During an interview with Craig Melvin on Today on Wednesday (August 4), the 28-year-old explained why she packed her karaoke machine with her when she set out for Tokyo Games.
“Mental health is important and I needed to have an outlet. My video games and karaoke are something that I need,” she said.
When Craig started playing footage of Mensah-Stock singing her heart out to “Hakuna Matata,” she couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh, you don’t just sing, you dance,” Craig said.
“I’m a performer,” Mensah-Stock said. “I’m not good at singing, but I will perform onstage. That’s the best part about karaoke. I sing so many dang songs … I don’t have favorites. I just love having fun,” she said.
Karaoke isn’t the only thing Mensah-Stock loves about Japanese culture. Craig called out the Olympain for not knowing who he was because she doesn’t watch television — she only watches anime.
As we earlier reported, the Olympian won 4-1 over Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu during the women’s 68-kilogram freestyle wrestling final.
When asked about what her historic win means to her, she expressed pride: “When I was in high school, when I first started wrestling, I was the first-ever state champion at our high school, like, ever, out of any sports,” she explained. “Then when I went to college, I was the first national teen champion in wrestling, and so it’s kind of an honor to be the first Black woman.”
Mensah-Stock lost her father when she was in high school, and she told Craig that he would’ve been thrilled to see her realize her dreams.
“He would say, ‘I knew you could do it! Thank you for killing them,’ because when he was mat-side he would say, ‘Kill them! Kill them! Crush them, kill them!'” she said.
“He was pretty intense. Now I see where you get it,” Craig said.
“He was super intense,” she said. “He would be extremely happy.”