TNA's Kurt Angle Talks About An Olympic Comeback And Making Movies!
Hi Kurt! So, the last time you spoke to ZOO, you announced you were training for London 2012. What happened?
Well, unfortunately many injuries ruled me out of the Olympics. At the age of 43, I was trying to train the way I did when I was 27. I tore my hamstring almost entirely, injured my achilles tendons, shoulder, ribs and then finally my knee. It was tough, I kept on fighting back.
My wrestling was right-on and I was competing at the level I wanted to. But the training kept setting me back. The more I trained and the harder I trained the more injuries occurred. Also, it had a lot to do with my TNA schedule and trying to train for the Olympics at the same time.
How much of a challenge is it to comeback from injuries, now that you're older?
You know when you get older it takes longer to recover. Even with the injuries that I’ve had in the past they never really kept me on the side line very long. I always thought I was invincible.
This past year made me realise that I am not invincible anymore. That was something I learned the hard way. I would have loved to have gone to the try-outs, but twelve days before the trials is when I hurt my knee. I could’ve still gone, but I would not have been able to compete very well at all.
Having a contract with TNA, it just wasn’t worth risking any further injury. I wore a knee-brace for two and half months and was still able to pro-wrestle. In pro wrestling you can work around injuries, whereas in Olympic wrestling you just can’t do that.
Would you consider training for the 2016 Olympics?
No! By that time I’d be 47, that’s definitely not an option for me. As I said, I found out that the requirements of the training was too much for my body to handle at this point in my career. When you make the Olympic team, that’s a milestone in itself and the training is unimaginable. The training you need to do is borderline abuse.
Have you had an opportunity to see any of the Olympics?
Oh yeah, I’ve been watching a lot of it over here in the States. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to see any of the wrestling, boxing or weightlifting. For me they are the more traditional Olympic sports. I have seen some of the non-traditional sports such as beach volleyball, water polo and handball. God bless them, it’s still pretty amazing to see some of these athletes perform.
I must say that London has done a phenomenal job at hosting the Olympics. I am very happy for you guys, in terms of the number of medals you have won. With hosting the Olympics, I know there’s been a lot of pressure on the athletes to step up and perform. I would say Team GB has had one of their best Olympic Games by far.
Who has impressed you?
I love Usain Bolt, the guy is just so entertaining to watch. He makes everything look so easy and he has a lot of charisma. He is one of a kind. For us in the States, we’ve been talking about Gabby Douglas and also Michael Phelps.
What I was very happy to see was Andy Murray step up to win the gold, especially after what happened at Wimbledon. I’ve been rooting for him over the past couple of years, but he always seemed to come up short.
What advice would you give young Olympians to help deal with the pressure of the Olympics?
You’re going to have pressure on you and you are going to get nervous. A lot of athletes tend to be gun shy when they get into a larger than life arena, and that is not the time to be gun shy.
Whenever the pressure was on me, thank god, I always seemed to perform better. I can honestly say that I did my best after winning at the World Championships in 1995 and winning gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
What are you looking forward to the most about the TNA 2013 UK tour?
When we come over to the UK the fans are a bit more vocal and I think that’s because we’re not here as much. I look forward to going up against the best with guys, such as AJ Styles, to really give the fans a match they'll love.
You recently did a parody video with Funny Or Die. How did that come about?
They actually contacted me after hearing I was training for the Olympics. But when I got injured, they said they would like me to do it and then air it just before the start of the Games. I thought it was quite an honour to have guys such as Will Ferrell and Adam McKay want me for a project. So they asked me to pick a partner and I chose RVD as my coach. I knew he’d do an excellent job and people don’t know him like I do, he’s a really funny guy.
You've also starred in a number of movies such as Warrior and next year you’ll star alongside Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Mark Wahlberg in Pain And Gain. Will acting be your life after wrestling?
That’s what I plan on doing after wrestling. I’ve had a few movies. Last year I did Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night, with the producers of Men In Black and Superman Returns. I co-starred with Brandon Routh, but it didn’t do as well as they hoped. Right now, I’ve been in five big motion picture movies and hoping, God willing, it turns into something bigger where I can do a lot more acting. There is only one Dwayne Johnson, but then again there is only one Kurt Angle.
Tickets for the 2013 TNA Road To Lockdown UK tour are on sale now and available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk
For more wrestling news and interviews follow @ThomasAlx
Kurt Angle Interview
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