MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Pursuing your passion can be punishing — even painful — when it involves wrestling.
Good thing Gigi Bragg doesn’t mind.
“It’s fun,” she said.
And though her coaches seem pretty intense, Gigi enjoys it.
“I like that about them because I like somebody who pushes me hard,” she said.
The motivation helps, but her mom Rebecca will tell you it’s not always needed.
“She just wants to be seen as a wrestler,” Rebecca Bragg said. “She wrestles a lot but it’s because she really loves it. She shows no signs of being burned out.”
Nor does she show any fear participating in a male dominated sport, most often against the boys.
She says she doesn’t see gender on the mat, though.
“I see it’s a wrestler and it’s my competitor,” Gigi said.
Her focus is rarely fazed, but it’s often interrupted right before her first match by her second passion.
“I don’t know how to explain it. I mean myself, I couldn’t do it,” coach Timothy Murray said.
Whether it’s at one of her own tournaments or in front of a Big Ten crowd at Carver Hawkeye Arena, Gigi singing the Star Spangled Banner showcases her theatre side, which has taken a back seat as she focuses on wrestling.
“Being asked to sing the national anthem is kind of a small outlet for her I guess,” Rebecca Bragg said.
“I don’t think you ever get used to it because it’s amazing,” Murray said. “And then you know when she’s done there, that she’s got to go out there and wrestle.”
Rocking her red, white and blue singlet, Gigi says singing before a match is actually helpful.
“It just like, I don’t know it sort of gets me motivated. I like to sing,” she said.
“I guess I see a passion in her style of singing is just giving it everything she has, and that’s kind of how she wrestles,” Rebecca Bragg said.
It’s a rare combination even her opponents can’t escape.
A beauty on the mic, a beast on the mat.
Gigi won two matches and lost two in the tournament. She followed up the next day with four straight wins.
While she doesn’t mind the spotlight, she remained very humble through it all.