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Provisor focused on 2021 for Olympics

Ben Provisor knew it was only a matter of time before the Olympics were canceled. He saw it coming after the NBA season was put on hold and the NCAA Wrestling Championships were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two-time Olympic wrestler who is a resident-athlete at the Buffalo Valley Regional Training Center in Lewisburg knew the postponement of this summer’s games in Tokyo was coming. But it didn’t make it any less disappointing when the International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday the Games were being postponed until 2021.

For the last six months Provisor has been training for this next couple weeks. He was already starting to make his descent to 77 kilograms to be ready for the Olympic Trials, which were supposed to be held next weekend at Penn State. Instead, Provisor has turned his focus to 2021.

“The last few weeks have sort of been uncertain,” Provisor said. “It definitely stinks that the Olympic Trials and the Olympics got delayed. I’ve put in a lot of work in the last six or seven months to prepare my mind and my body to wrestle. It stinks this is what it’s come down to, but it’s the right thing to do.”

Provisor came to BVRTC this winter after spending two years at Penn State with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club. He was the United States representative at 74 kilograms in Greco-Roman wrestling in 2012 here he finished 11th. In 2016, he was the US rep at 85 kilograms in Rio and took 12th.

The 29-year-old Wisconsin native isn’t dissuaded by the IOC’s decision to postpone the games. He plans to continue to train through next spring and summer to hopefully earn his third berth on to the United State Olympic Team. It’s pushing back his life plans a year, but that’s OK.

His pursuit of an Olympic medal is what’s been driving him since he was a kid. Even though he never won a state championship wrestling at Stevens Point High School in Wisconsin, he was winning every age group national tournament in Greco-Roman wrestling. He went 1-1 in his first Olympics, and 0-1 four years ago.

But Provisor is also Pan American Games champion, a two-time U.S. Open champion. In fact, Provisor thinks the delay could actually be a benefit to him. The Olympic Trials would have been his first tournament down to 77 kilograms. With the change in Olympic weights for this cycle, he hadn’t previously competed at the new weight. Now he’ll hopefully get to enter some tournaments in order to get used to competing at a lower weight.

“I definitely feel like I need to wrestle one more time,” Provisor said. “I have a good track record at the Olympic Trials, so I’m going to give it one more go and hopefully win an Olympic medal. I’ve never doubted if I would wrestle or not. I’m definitely going to keep going no matter what.”

Provisor’s plan coming into this year was to train for the Olympic Trials and hopefully the Olympic Games before eventually setting his sights on an MMA career. That career will have to wait a while because wrestling is what he feels he was meant to do.

He said the sport has completed his life, and his opportunities to compete in the Olympics was something he’s had in mind since he got to high school. He believes wrestling will still find a way to have a world championship tournament this year, so his focus has been turned to that, whenever it may be. He looks at the shape he’s in and the work he’s put in to get to this point, and he doesn’t want to lose out on the progress he’s made. So there is no plan for Provisor to take time off right now. Instead he’s going to keep pushing forward and preparing for whatever opportunity comes next.

“I’m going to keep working every day to be my best,” Provisor said. “I’m going to stay with my diet and lifestyle. I’m going to be drinking plenty of water and hopefully this will all help me win the Olympics in 2021. That’s still the ultimate goal.”

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