All Press Releases for April 10, 2022

A South Carolina High School Wrestler Has Olympic Dreams

Yannis Charles at 16-years-old has been invited to the Olympic Training Center for the PanAm Championship Greco Camp

    GREENVILLE, SC, April 10, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The resident athlete program at the Olympic Training Center provides an encouraging environment for young athletes to develop Olympic and Pan-American championship goals. Resident athletes must be at least 15 years old, current US citizens and eligible to represent the USA in the Olympic and Pan-American games. Only the athletes showing improvement towards international success and with high probability of becoming an Olympian will be accepted.

Yannis Charles, who recently completed his junior wrestling season at Clover High School in SC, is a 2-time State Qualifier, 3-time Regional Champ, the 1st SC GFC Champion, a Fargo Greco All-American and a 2-time Iowa National All-American recently placing 4th at the 2022 Folkstyle Nationals open tournament at Cedar Falls IA.

According to Coach Jason Tolbert, a 3-time gold medalist in the Olympic Festival, he was the first to notice something different about Yannis. Coach Tolbert said, "I did identify that even though Yannis had only been wrestling about 4 months at the time his talent set him far above kids who'd been wrestling much longer than he had. Yannis has the potential to go as far as he wants to in wrestling. With the right training a gold medal is not an unrealistic goal for him."

What makes this invitation to the PanAm Championship Camp at the Olympic Training Center interesting is that Yannis Charles is somewhat of an anomaly. He only started wrestling 3 years ago and comes from a state that is not considered one of the top wrestling states in the country. As a matter of fact, it is probably considered one of the weaker wrestling states, said Mr. Charles.

The camp that Yannis will be attending is a specialized camp for Greco roman wrestling. Greco roman wrestling was included in the Olympics in 1896 and has been in every edition of the summer Olympics held since 1904. This particular wrestling style forbids holds below the waist which differentiates it from Folkstyle wrestling. This restriction puts a greater emphasis on throwing your opponent. Currently Greco roman wrestling is divided into 4 main age categories; Schoolboys, Cadets, Juniors and Seniors. Yannis will be entering the Cadets category. Mr. Charles states "Even though Yannis has only been wrestling for 3 years from the day he started I could tell this was something he was born to do. As a family of faith we believe that all you do should bring Glory to God. I believe Yannis will one day represent the USA if given the opportunity."

"Of all the styles of wrestling for some reason I have gravitated to Greco. Not that I don't like Freestyle or Folkstyle but Greco provides me with an opportunity to truly test speed, strength, position and I get to throw people over my head unlike Folkstyle." – Yannis Charles

Yannis Charles recently attended a world team trial camp at a well known Greco roman training facility that was hosted by WC_Combat, Lucas Allen Steldt in blue river WI. Mr. Steldt runs a full-time Greco training facility and promotes the style of Greco through his online blog called 5-Point Move. The camp was invite only. Many wanted to attend but due to their limited Greco wrestling knowledge were denied. Yannis was only considered because his coach, Jeffery Estrada, another Greco roman enthusiast, has a reputation already for putting young men and woman on a world team. Yannis also placed 8th last year at Fargo for Greco roman wrestling, which was his 1st Fargo experience and unbelievably only his 3rd Greco roman tournament. Coach Estrada of ET wrestling located in Hilton Head SC states "Yannis is a special kid. He is a super talented athlete with tons of potential. I can see him making a world team in the future. He will be staying with me to train for the upcoming Cadets World Team Trials happening this month."

Yannis' opportunity to train at the Olympic Training Center was as a result of the camp which was taught by the current Olympic Greco roman wrestling head coach, Coach Matt Leland. Mr. Leland oversees the entire program located in Colorado Springs CO. After seeing Yannis interact at his recent camp he decided to invite Yannis to the upcoming Pan-Am Championships Camp so that Yannis can experience life at the Olympic Training Center, train with other Greco roman Cadets and Senior level athletes who are currently representing the U.S internationally and at the Olympics.

The Clover HS SC coach, Coach Fitzgerald states "That this is an awesome opportunity for Yannis and we support him 100%." Mr. Charles states that in the 3 years his son has wrestled he has had the opportunity to train with some of the best coaches in the country. Yannis has had private training with the Carr family in KY, Coach Johnson (RAW 241) in PA, Coach Kendall (K-Vegas Elite) in Greensboro NC, Coach Hewitt (Mat Masters) in Gastonia NC, Coach Jason Tolbert (3 times Olympic Festival Gold Medalist) in VA, Coach Garrett (NCAA champion - 133 pds) in TN, and Coach Clemens in GA.

Mr. Charles goes on to say "Nothing is free. Getting Yannis to this point has been a major investment on our family's behalf but a rewarding journey as well. This is a very exciting time for SC wrestling."

Even though Yannis Charles has trained all over the country he always wears his SC singlet for his 1st match no matter the tournament he attends. There has only been one Olympic wrestler out of SC. Yannis Charles states that he plans on being the 2nd and the youngest to ever do it.

If you'd like to follow Yannis Charles on his journey to Gold, you can follow him on YouTube at ChasingTheCharles.

If you would like to help support Yannis on his journey you can make donations to his GoFundMe.

For sponsorship opportunities please email [email protected] or call 704-201-7601.

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Shawna Charles
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