OCEAN SHORES, Wash. — The Washington coast has many potential spots that can become a big hub for beach wrestling, which has many coaches trying to jump ahead of the game.
One of them is Andrew Cook, a resident of Ocean Shores.
“My whole life has been wrestling,” said Cook. “I had a natural knack for it, so that certainly helped, and I fell in love.”
But what started as a promising career as a wrestler roughly stopped. Addiction took over Andrew’s life and any chance to take him to the next level as an athlete.
“I sold myself short,” said Cook. “Substance abuse issues blocked my future.”
But destiny brought him back to the sport that he loved in a slightly different way. Cook decided to give it a second try in wrestling, this time as a coach.
In 1999, he started as an assistant coach for a high school team, a challenge that he took with a lot of passion. A decision that changed his life forever.
“I was ready to be an example for the athletes that I was raising up,” said Cook.
After years of preparation, Cook earned the spot to coach the Indian Women’s Wrestling Team, where he got to work with wrestler “Sakshi Malik,” the first Indian woman to land a wrestling Olympic medal.
Now, he wants to share all his knowledge and entrain the next generation of beach wrestlers of Washington state.
It’s all about creating great opportunities for our young local athletes. Opening avenues for people to have a dream that could potentially be bigger than themselves.
“Without a doubt, We will have more than just one athlete who will represent our country in the Olympic Games,” Cook said.
The “Association of National Olympic Committees” has named the specific discipline of Beach Wrestling as one of the sports to be part of mandatory events of the ANOC World Beach Games sports program. This is a decision that has many local athletes thinking of a potential future in the Summer Olympic Games for the sport.
We know that beach wrestling is a modified outdoor version of Olympic wrestling, a sport in which both men and women can participate. Athletes compete in an inner sand-filled circle with a diameter of 7 meters. The sand is a crucial part of the sport, making the movements slower and forcing the athletes to use more upper-body techniques.
As the Olympic spirit grows with the sport, the chances of having a Northwest champion in the discipline of beach wrestling are closer than ever.