Keitani Graham lasted just one match in the Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the Olympics on Monday. But Graham, who was born on the Big Island, graduated from Punahou and represents the Federated States of Micronesia, says he learned a lot in his loss to Charles Edward Betts of the United States.
“I just made a stupid mental error in the first period and that cost me, I gave a much better showing in the second period but couldnt close it out. I feel like Im closing the gap more though,” said Graham, who has been wrestling just six years. “I simply need more mat time and more matches.”
Graham, 32, lives on Chuuk, where he is director of SHIP/HOOPS, a nonprofit agency that services youth. Although he didn’t come close to medaling, just making it to the Olympics is an incredible achievement. I wrote about Graham in Sunday’s column because his story is my favorite kind … that of an athlete who can have a huge positive impact on others through what he does in competition and other aspects of life.