Why a US Gold Medalist Is Giving Her Winnings to Her Mom

Tamyra Mensah-Stock became the first Black woman to win gold for Team USA in wrestling.

Tamyra Mensah-Stock stands with her gold medal

Tamyra Mensah-Stock became the first Black woman ever to win gold for Team USA in freestyle wrestling this week, and along with the pride of making history and being the best in the world at something, the 28-year-old also received a nice little chunk of change for her incredible performance. And she is using the $37,000 prize money to help her mom live out her lifelong dream of opening up a BBQ food truck.

“I wanted to give my mom $30,000 to get a food truck. It’s her dream,” she said. “I told her five years ago, ‘I’ll get you your food truck, but you gotta be responsible.’ She’s like ‘Thank you, baby’…so my mom’s getting her food truck! She can cook, really really well.”

It’s undeniably awesome that Mensah-Stock is giving her mom that prize money so that she can get a food truck and show off some of her BBQ cooking. And it’s this type of gesture that has made her a fan favorite in the homes of millions of Olympic viewers and she spoke about what the win means to younger girls who may have watched her take first place.

“It means that they see someone like themselves on that podium,” she explained. “… [B]eing an Olympic champ is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. And I can say it’s well worth it.”

The gold medalist began wrestling in 10th grade at Morton Ranch High School in Katy, Texas, and quickly discovered she had a natural talent for the sport. At the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, Mensah-Stock won the 68kg event but did not end up qualifying for the summer Olympics. Five years later, her hard work has paid off, as she won a gold medal and gets to help her mom accomplish her lifelong goal.