CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Penn State alumnus, State College resident, and local business owner, is bringing home another title: Olympic gold medalist.
Wrestler David Taylor defeated opponent Hassan Yazdanicharati, the 2016 champion from Iran, early this morning.
For the young athletes Taylor coaches at his gym, M2 Training Center, and his mentees across Central Pennsylvania, the win is inspirational.
“It’s just surreal, to see somebody you know, somebody that you’ve followed for a long time and look up to be able to reach their goal like that, it’s really surreal,” said Sam Herring, wrestler for Bishop McCourt.
Taylor opened the M2 Training Center in Pleasant Gap about four years ago, and in that time, the wrestlers have become state and national champions.
“It started because of David and his goal, his mission to the surrounding community,” said Jude Swisher, M2 Training Center athlete & student at Bellefonte Area High School.
At 8-years-old, Swisher first met Taylor. He said he always knew his coach was going for the ultimate win.
“It’s been since day one, he’s really like, been set, very clear, I’m going to be a world champion, I’m going to be an Olympic champion,” said Swisher.
“David has talked about being an Olympic champion since he was ten years old,” said Herring.
The wrestlers agree, it’s all about Taylor’s mindset.
“He’s a great man, he’s a great person, he loves his family, he loves what he does,” said Pierson Manville,M2 Training Center athlete.
“David’s focused, he’s focused and he’s driven, and he is ambitious,” said Swisher. “If he wants something done he’s going to go get it done, and we saw it this weekend, just unrelenting.”
The M2 Training Center and watching Taylor’s ambition first-hand taught the athletes determination.
“And so to finally see him get his hand raised and stand on that podium with his gold medal… I cried, a lot, I was very emotional,” said Swisher.
They said Taylor taught them to be grateful for every opportunity on the mat.
“Man, I just hope he knows how much of an effect he has on kids across the country and really kids across the world at this point,” said Herring.