Move Over Kurt Angle

August 23, 2009

Move over Kurt Angle there is another Olympian on the pro-wrestling horizon, and if all goes well this February she too will have an Olympic Gold Medal. Okay, if I can be serious for a minute, this article is not about Kurt Angle. The Kurt Angle, angle (if you will) was just to grab your attention, which I hope it did. That being said I did spend one day last week at Storm Wrestling Academy, wrestling with an Olympian.

Michelle Kelly is on the Canadian Olympic Team and she will be competing in Skeleton at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. For those of you who have no idea what Skeleton is, it’s similar to the Luge except the sled is ridden in the prone position (face first, on the stomach). Women’s Skeleton in fairly new to the Olympic Games making its debut in Salt Lake City in 2002. Michelle competed in the 2002 games, and was the 2003 World Champion as well as the 2003 Over All World Cup Champion.

My getting to meet and wrestle with Michelle came about thanks to Canada AM. For you non-Canadians out there Canada AM is a television morning show similar to The Today show in the US (but obviously much better) and airs on CTV here in Canada. Canada AM contacted me about a program they were doing to promote Canadian Athletes heading into the 2010 Games. The project would take a few Olympic athletes and ask them the question, “What would you be if you weren’t an Olympian?” and then put them through “a day in the life of” that profession.

Michelle Kelly’s answer to that question was, “I’d be a Pro-Wrestler” so CTV contacted me to see if they could bring Michelle down to Storm Wrestling Academy for some training. Michelle lives in Calgary which likely explains her interest in pro-wrestling and made scheduling her training very easy.

Not wanting to pass up the free publicity on national TV I jumped at the chance to do this but I was a little concerned with how it would go. Pro-wrestling is a very difficult job to pick up in a couple hours so being able to do anything worth putting on television after only a couple hours in the ring, is near impossible. I’ve done things like this before with guys (most notably for Much Music’s Much on Demand) but they were always more of a comedic piece where the guy coming to train, gets beat up, and everyone gets to laugh at how much they struggle at taking even the simplest of bumps.

I assumed that this piece was intended to help get Michelle over to an audience that may not know here well, so I was going to have to try to make her look good in the ring in 2 hours or less; no easy task. I was relieved to find out that Michelle was a gymnast before she got into skeleton and actually did a little bit of training in the Dungeon with the Harts 10 years ago. I didn’t figure she would remember anything from 10 years ago but at least she knew what she was in for, and her gymnastics background would be a huge advantage.

We ended up spending about 3 hours doing the piece but that was more because we were having so much fun, rather than a need for extra time to teach her stuff; Michelle was fantastic. Michelle Kelly is an absolute sweet heart, and is instantly likeable and was so much fun to work with. I kept it way simpler than I had to (or she wanted) but the CTV producer and I were scared to death Michelle would get hurt this close to the Olympics. As tough an athlete as Michelle is, we were very worried that even a slightly sprained ankle or banged shoulder could hamper her Olympic chances.

We had so much fun and she showed so much potential that I extended her an open invitation, for after the Olympics, if she ever wants to come back and train some more. The piece will air either during or right before the Olympics, and I will try to post news of the airing date on the site as soon as I know when that will be. We also joked that we need to do a part two where Michelle takes me down to Canada Olympic Park and gets me to try Skeleton, which I’d be up for so if anything comes of that I will keep you posted as well. If you want to learn more about Michelle Kelly and the sport of Skeleton, you can check her out HERE . The producer from CTV took several photos of Michelle and I in the ring, and when I get copies I will be sure to post them here as well.

In closing I want to wish Michelle the best of luck in Vancouver. I will be watching and I hope to see her on the podium in February.

Lance