Chas Betts: Olympic experience ‘mind blowing’

Carrying the weight of the St. Michael-Albertville community — and the United States — on his shoulders, wrestler Chas Betts of St. Michael won his first Olympic match but lost in his second.

The loss ended any gold-medal hopes for Betts wrestling at 84 kilograms (185 pounds), but in an interview after the match, Betts said he has no regrets.

“It’s been absolutely awesome,” he said. “I mean there’s not one regret in my entire career at this point. I’m happy to be here. It’s as mind blowing as everyone says it is. It is such an experience, without a doubt it’s going to be with me my entire life.”

Betts day Monday, Aug. 6, began when he dominated Keitani Graham of Micronesia.

“It started out pretty well,” he said. “I knew the guy I drew was fairly inexperienced as far as big international competition. I was looking to get a good burn in and make a nice move and get the crowd riled up, have some fun out there the first match.”

In the second match, Betts faced an opponent, Pablo Shorey Hernandez of Cuba, who beat Betts at the Pan Am Games. He ultimately lost again to Hernandez, and when Hernandez was upset by Poland’s Damian Janikowski, Betts lost any chance of medal contention.

“The second match I had a Cuban, had a plan going in,” he said. “I stuck to the plan and did what we talked about, and it just didn’t work out for me. I can honestly say I have no regrets about that match.”

Betts said he hasn’t made a decision about his wrestling future. “As far as training, we’ll figure that out soon and come up with a plan.”

The hometown hero had a Facebook message for all his friends and supporters: “No medal today. Rather than talk about how much it breaks my heart, I just want to thank everyone. Anyone who ever sent a good-luck, wished me well, sent a prayer, or even a positive thought my way. It was an honor to represent the country, state, and city. Thank you.”