American Soldier Qualifies for Paris Olympics 2024 After Stellar Show at Pan Am Wrestling Qualifiers

Published 02/28/2024, 8:05 PM EST

Follow Us

American Greco-Roman wrestling force Spencer Woods made a big breakthrough at the Pan Am Olympic Qualifiers. Fighting in the 87kg category, the US Army soldier won the semi-final of the event. With this, the military-grade wrestler has come another step closer to competing at the Paris Olympics 2024.


Article continues below this ad

Announcing his triumphant win, USA Wrestling tweeted on X, “87 kg SF – Spencer Woods 🇺🇸 dec. Daniel Gregorich Hecavarria 🇨🇺, 6-3 #WrestleAcapulco.” With this, the US has now opened a berth for itself in the 87kg Greco-Roman category at the Paris Olympics 2024. Now, Woods will enter the Pan Am Olympic Qualifiers final and strengthen himself for the Olympic trials in another few weeks.

Spencer Woods has been climbing his way up in the world of Greco-Roman wrestling. Just two months ago in December, he delivered stellar performances at the 2023 US Senior Nationals and won all his matches. The US Army soldier has moved up a weight class, something even Olympic Champions don’t do, and previously wrestled in the 83kg category. 

The 2023 World Wrestling Championship saw Woods lose in his opening round and fail to make it to the repechage bracket as well. Thus, the decision to move up instead of down must have been very hard. However, the decision has now paid him off with a certain spot for his country at the Paris Olympics 2024. 

Interestingly, while Woods is a proud army personnel today, there was a time when he wasn’t interested in the service. In fact, he didn’t even want to enlist till he found out that he wouldn’t have to sacrifice his Olympic dream for it.


Article continues below this ad

From young wrestler to army man, to Paris Olympics 2024 hopeful

Spencer Woods had started wrestling right from his school days. The youngster was initially inspired to enter the sport due to WWE. However, when he learned about real wrestling, he didn’t run away but embraced it completely. His passion kept growing and he never missed practice either. Moreover, before getting a Paris Olympics 2024 berth, he has already wrestled in countries like Austria, Panama, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and Denmark.


Article continues below this ad

Despite his father being a World War II veteran, Woods wasn’t keen on joining the army. But, the World Class Athlete Program’s promise to uphold his Olympic dream gave him enough confidence to enlist. Today, the Paris Olympics 2024 hopeful proudly says, “ I love to compete but I am proud to say that I am a Soldier First.” The army man will now ensure to get through the Olympic trials and march to Paris just like his father.


Get instantly notified of the hottest Olympics stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us


Written by:

Ankit Singh


One take at a time

Ankit Singh is a senior Olympic Sports correspondent at EssentiallySports who covers gymnastics, track and field, and the NCAA Women's Division 1 Volleyball. In his early days at ES, Ankit covered two prime track and field events - the 2023 World Athletics Championships and the 2023 Prefontaine Classic. During the 2023 NCAA Division 1 women’s Volleyball championships, Ankit covered the Nebraska Huskers and the Wisconsin Badgers rivalry, and later covered the transfer portals after the Texas Longhorns lifted the victory.
Show More>

Edited by:

Bhujaya Ray Chowdhury