Kurt Angle won Olympic gold in 1996. Since winning that medal, he has stated that he wanted to go back to amateur competition or to compete in Mixed Martial Arts. For one reason or another, it never happens.
Angle claimed that he would try out for the 2004 Olympic Games, but he never did. Now (yet again) he’s talking about trying out for the 2012 Olympics. At 43 years old, and after sustaining a litany of debilitating injuries, includuing spinal trauma, the overwhelming perspective is that Angle is just posturing for publicity’s sake. In a recent poll for PWI, a vocal 15 percent believe that Angle genuinely wants to return to Olympic competition, even if he’s a longshot to make the team. Many believe that Angle has fought against the odds his entire career. After all, if George Foreman could return to boxing at 45 years old, who’s to say that Angle can’t make another Olympic run?
On the flip side of the coin, Angle has also been known to desperately seek media attention. Since arriving on the scene at TNA Wrestling, Angle has had numerous run-ins with the law, including several DUI/DWI arrests, as well as some responses for domestic disturbances with an ex-girlfriend. There have also been several public outbursts via his social media Twitter account, which he later claimed was hacked.
Could it be that Angle’s desire to return to a legitimate competitive stage is yet another attempt to get into the good graces of the media and his fans? Has TNA Wrestling’s lack of growth caused concern for the aging performer whose body is about to tap out after years of enduring career threatening injuries?
Fans hope that this isn’t a desperate ploy to grab publicity for his name – but what else is left for him to do in the twilight of his career to maintain relevant? The last thing fans want is for Angle to wear out his welcome and embarrass himself much like Ric Flair has been doing for the last 10 years. Angle is arguably the best pound for pound wrestler in the world, and, for him to diminish his legacy for the sake of marking out for himself would be a shame and a painful reminder that there is no old timers day in a sport that chews up its athletes or pushes them to a breaking point.
The more he pushes himself, the more fans will beg him to walk away gracefully. Unfortunately, in this business, it is one of the most difficult things to do.