December 01, 2011

Henry Cejudo, who in 2008 became the youngest American Olympic wrestling gold medalist, said after the 2012 Olympics he's going to retire from freestyle wrestling for good.

"This is it for me," Cejudo said. "There's so much more to life than headlocks and double legs."

Cejudo took three years off following the 2008 Olympics to pursue other aspects of his life. The 24-year-old had lived in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs since he was 16-years and missed his senior prom because of his training schedule. He is currently training at the Ohio Regional Training Center in Columbus for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The son of illegal Mexican immigrants said his decision to return for the 2012 Olympics was strongly influenced by his mother, Nelly Rico, getting her U.S. citizenship last summer. Her illegal alien status made it impossible for her to travel to Beijing to see her son win Olympic gold in 2008. Rico, who raised Cejudo as a single parent, will be watching in London this time around. Regardless of what she sees Cejudo, who must win the Olympic Team Trials in April to qualify for the Olympic games, says it will be his final tournament as a competitive international wrestler.

"I'm okay if I take bronze or silver or whatever as long as I gave it my all," said Cejudo, who quickly added that anyone who beat him would have to work extremely hard and may need the help of a baseball bat.

The 2008 Olympian said after the 2012 Olympics he plans to focus on being a motivational speaker and role model to the Mexican-American community. He is considered a college junior now and hopes to earn a degree in business administration and start a family after the London Games.

"I'm only 24 years old, but I already find myself thinking about kids," Cejudo said.

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