Monday, July 1, 2013

Parade for Local Wrestling Star Draws Hundreds

By Christina Georgiou

Jordan Oliver, standing left, arrives in Centre Square during the parade in his honor Sunday afternoon. The two-time
NCAA wrestling champion was accompanied by family members in the cart.
A parade and recognition ceremony for two-time NCAA wrestling champion Jordan Oliver Sunday drew hundreds to Centre Square Sunday afternoon, eager to meet the college sports star and get his autograph.

The parade included many local young wrestlers and other youth athletes, as well as coaches, including those from Easton Area High School (EAHS) and the Saints wrestling programs, both of which Oliver participated in before wrestling for Oklahoma State University.
Jordan Oliver waves to the crowd as he takes the stage on
Centre Square Sunday.

Mayor Sal Panto was at the head of the parade, and led a brief ceremony on the Centre Square, proclaiming Sunday "Jordan Oliver Day"--the second time in just over two years a day has been dedicated to the college athlete.

"I don't know of anyone who's had two days named after him," Panto said. "This isn't a key to the city, because that key doesn't open up any locks. But this opens up the key to our hearts."

Turning to the many young athletes in the crowd, Panto said, "Every one of you, remember, in 15 or 10 years, we can have you on this stage."

Dave Swick, coach for the St. Anthony Saints youth wrestling program and one of Oliver's first coaches, praised Oliver for his hard work and success.

"His dedication...should be an example for all," Swick said.

"He wasn't a national champion because he's a great athlete. He's a national champion because he's got a great attititude," said EAHS wrestling coach Steven Powell. "Jordan Oliver has a passion for the sport...He's going to bring home another Olympic gold (for the U.S.)--there's no doubt in my mind."

Jordan Oliver, second from the left, poses for a photo with
his former coaches.
The upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Rio is where Oliver has set his sights next, the wrestling champion confirmed, though he'll continue to be part of the Oklahoma State team for another year, he said.

Oliver was awarded a degree from the university in education this year, and will be staying at the school to complete a business degree this coming spring, he said.

"It's an honor to have two days named after me," Oliver said. "I think I'm just going to keep winning and string together a whole month."

Tina Rosado, mother of
Jordan Oliver, tells the crowd
how proud she is of her son.
 Oliver's mother, Tina Rosado, reminisced about his early days in Easton youth wrestling programs, saying her son's hard work and dedication was key to his success.

"He just graduated from Oklahoma State University, and I didn't have to pay a dime. I stand back, and I'm the proudest mom in the world. I love you, honey," she said, to laughter and applause from the audience.

Many were wearing t-shirts bearing an image of the wrestling star's face and  "That Dude Jo, 2X National Champion, Jordan Oliver, Oklahoma State Wrestling" on the front.

The t-shirts were sold at the event, and proceeds will go toward defraying Oliver's training costs, as well as being donated to a local youth wrestling program, said Rosado.

At the conclusion of the event, Oliver signed t-shirts and posed for photos with his many fans.

Panto encouraged people to continue to support local youth sports programs, such as the midget leagues, the Police Athletic League, and the Saints youth sports teams.

"I don't care if it's a dollar," the mayor said. "We need to support these programs and keep the feet off the streets."

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