Germantown's Thielke headed to Olympic Training Center with eye to 2012

Wrestler to head off for Olympic training center

Feb. 21, 2011

The moment, likely sometime around 7 p.m. Saturday night, will have a more poignant and final air to it than some thought it would.

Germantown's Jesse Thielke will likely become the 10th Wisconsin wrestler in prep history to win four WIAA state titles. There will be an announcement, an ovation and an acknowledgment of the likely sell-out crowd at the Kohl Center by Thielke himself.

He will soak it all in, maybe take a bow and then make an appropriate and discreet exit, where he will likely be feted by the media and fans who want to know how all this feels.

Thielke may be a little more gracious with his time, a little long in leaving this stage, because he may want to soak it all in.

Because two days from then, he will be winging his way with the U.S. wrestling team to Romania and Bulgaria for an international Greco-Roman tournament, which is nothing new to him.

What will be new is that when he flies back to the state, he will not be heading back to Germantown to resume school, but to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

It's all part of Thielke's goal to be a contender for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

"The Olympic committee voted to accept him as a full-time resident athlete," said his father, Jeff. "Expenses all paid for. His roommate will be Ben Provisor (former state champion from Stevens Point).

"The (Germantown) School Board passed a modified education plan for him. He'll finish his classes online with his teachers, and he'll get his (high school) diploma from Germantown."

Things move fast

In short, life will continue to move fast for the young Mr. Thielke, 18, who's been on international trips and has been away from home at extended camps many times now.

"He's been doing it since he was 10 years old," said Jeff.

Further, as Thielke gets ready for an eventual chance at the 2012 Olympic trials, he'll take classes through the University of Wisconsin extension. He has an arrangement with Wisconsin that will allow him to spend a year at the Olympic training center after he graduates high school before enrolling in 2012 on an athletic scholarship.

Coach helping out

An added benefit out west, said Jeff, is that former Germantown and soon-to-be retired Homestead wrestling coach Barry Bernstein will be moving to Colorado shortly, to a town about an hour north from the training center.

"He's (Bernstein) already let it be known that if Jesse just needs to get away from the training center for awhile, he can take him in," said Jeff. "Barry's been a real influential part of Jesse's development and he's let us know that he'll help in anyway he can.

"We really appreciate that."

His high school coach Casey Gabrielson is also excited for Thielke and he has some advice for him, too.

"There are people who are going to want to do things for him, will flock to him simply because of who he is," he said. "They will want to be on the Jesse Thielke bandwagon. But he has to pick people carefully.

"But one thing he will know, is that he will always have friends back here (in Germantown) who will back him up. Who will always look upon him as a teammate."

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