Local 13 year-old has Olympic hopes to compete in 2024

posted by Murphy & Meg - 

From FOX6NOW.com

Kylie Welker

BURLINGTON -- Step inside the Higher Level Wrestling Center in Burlington, and you'll see plenty of talented athletes. One 13-year-old is hoping her talents can take her to the Olympic games.

"I like to think that I can do whatever I put my mind to. I can wrestle and win whenever I want to. I have to have my mind right in order to win," said Kylie Welker.

Winning is something 13-year-old Kylie Welker has done plenty of.

Kylie Welker

"Last year, I eased into it but this last year is when I made a big step," said Kylie. "I traveled all over the world. I went to the Olympic Training Center, different countries."

Kylie Welker

Before she was a world traveling wrestler, Kylie's work began years ago.

"I was four when I started, so I went out there like I wanted, they couldn't hold me back," said Kylie.

Kylie Welker

Kylie Welker

Janel Welker

"She kept wanting to go out there and there was just no keeping her off the mat so I found her little pink gymnastics leo[tard] and got her out there on her first very tournament," said Janel Welker, Kylie's mom.

Following in the footsteps of her older brother, Kylie fell in love with wrestling and quickly made a name for herself. Winning state titles, national titles, and most recently competing in the Pan American Championships, but she continues to reach for more.

"Pretty much my overall goal is to go in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, and I want to win gold," said Kylie.

Kylie Welker

Jeremy Welker

"A year ago we could've never dreamed she'd be training at the Olympic Training Center," said Jeremy Welker, Kylie's dad.

"I just knew when she said she wanted to be an Olympian there was a possibility. She's definitely going to be going places the next couple years," said Janel.

Kylie's training is already underway. She represented Team USA in Chile, last month -- working with three-time world champion wrestler, Adaline Gray.

"This next year is going to be a big year because I'm going to be older and I can make it to Worlds, which is a pretty big part of becoming an Olympic wrestler," Kylie said.

Kylie Welker

Competing in a sport -- traditionally reserved for boys -- hasn't slow her down, and if anything, has inspired Kylie to do better.

"Especially with the older mentality of wrestling. It's changing and it's changing very quickly. Dads would not want their boys to wrestle with girls and some of them would get just really obnoxious; 'don't worry about it, she's just a girl, you're going to beat her.' That was probably one of the things that drove Kylie more than anything, when she heard a dad saying, oh it's just a girl, it's just a girl, those are the boys who got punished the worst," said Jeremy.

Kylie Welker

Kylie Welker's awards

"A lot of boys wouldn't wrestle her. To me it upset me, just think of her as a wrestler, not as a girl. When a lot of boys went crying off the mat and I'm like yeah there's my daughter, she just made that boy cry," said Janel.

Boy or girl, the key to success is the same.

Kylie Welker

"It's fun and it's exciting and seems like you only read about stories like that, but Kylie has done a lot of work -- but as a family we've made a lot of sacrifices too," Jeremy said.

"Ever since the day I stepped on the mat they've been super supportive. They do whatever they can to make wherever I go, whoever I train with happen and possible for me so it's really nice to have supportive parents," said Kylie.

A family that always has each other's back -- on or off the mat.

Kylie Welker

In addition to the Olympic Training Center, Kylie has trained in West Allis, and most recently at Higher Level in Burlington.

Kylie Welker

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