Olympic wrestler Kayla Miracle blazing trail for LGBTQ+ athletes

Wrestling athlete Kayla Miracle is doing Arizona proud. The two time U.S. Open Champion (2017 and 2018) and Indiana native is competing at the Tokyo Olympics.

The wrestling competition at the Tokyo Olympics began on Saturday night and will feature many of the world's best wrestlers in men's and women's freestyle and Greco-Roman. Miracle is competing in the women's freestyle.

Kayla Miracle (R) | Photo: Instagram

Miracle won the 2015, 2016, and 2017 University Nationals; the 2018 Klippan Lady Open in Sweden; and the 136-pound title in the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association finals in Saint Louis, Missouri in 2015. She is the fourth wrestler to win four Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association national titles. In 2020, she won the silver medal at the Pan American Wrestling Olympic Qualification Tournament, in the women's 62kg division.

Miracle won a peewee state title (40 pounds) at age 4 and went on to become the first (and still only) woman to reach the Indiana high school state finals while at Culver Academies, to winning four Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association titles and to making the U.S. Olympic team.

Miracle is only the fourth woman to sweep through her entire college career (2015-18) as WCWA champion while continuing to build her USA Wrestling resume (two-time Junior World bronze medalist, 2019 U23 World silver). 

Post-college, Miracle joined the Hawkeye Wrestling Club in Iowa City, Iowa, with Mark Perry, a two-time NCAA champion, taking on her coaching. She won the 2019 Final X title at 62 kg/136 pounds, qualifying for her first senior World Championships and entry into the Olympic trials.

During the pandemic, coach Perry, several of his athletes and Miracle moved to Tempe, Arizona. During the move, she and Perry contracted and recovered from Covid, according to azcentral.com. "He called me and said don't tell anyone but I might be making a move to Arizona. I was all right, let's go. It was not a question. He's the guy I want in my corner at trials, at the Olympics. This guy is the real deal, the way he can break down film. He's the smartest guy, it's crazy his knowledge about wrestling. Not a single doubt in him," said Miracle.

Miracle, 25, is out and proud and is believed to be the first Olympic women's wrestler to be openly gay. She frequently posts on Instagram about her girlfriend, Chafin Payne.

"A lot of people are loving that I am out and I am an Olympian," says Miracle of knocking down yet another barrier. "People in the community who are struggling can see me, I'm happy and successful. I love who I love and I'm in a happy, healthy relationship so what else can I ask for. Happiness breeds success and no matter who I'm dating, that makes me happy and makes me a better person and a better wrestler," she said.

When will Kayla Miracle compete in Tokyo? 

August 3, August 4 (medal matches)

Kayla Miracle on social media 

Twitter: @MiraculousKC 

Instagram: @miraculouskc

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