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Get to know two of the Wisconsin athletes heading south for this month's Olympic Games.

Jesse Thielke at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in April. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall.

Jesse Thielke at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in April. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall.

Jesse Thielke

Event: Wrestling
Age: 24
Hometown: Germantown

Which career achievement are you most proud of?
Becoming an Olympian, for now, until I win the gold. And then that will be it.

Best thing about your sport?
You get out of it what you put into it. It’s given me so much.

What’s the biggest drawback?
There aren’t any.

Who is your athletic idol?
Dave Schultz. If one day people can look at me with the same respect they look at him with, I’ll be able to die happy.

Tell us how you got your start.
I used to get into a lot of fights as a kid. Wrestling gave me a funnel and a direction for all that frustration.

Do you have any pre-event rituals?
I don’t believe in superstitions, so no.

 


 

Annie Haeger. Photo by Jen Edney.

Annie Haeger. Photo by Jen Edney.

Annie Haeger

Event: Sailing — 470 (Two-person dinghy)
Age: 26
Hometown: East Troy

Which career achievement are you most proud of?
Winning the 2015 Olympic Test event.

Best thing about your sport?
You’re not only battling mentally, physically and emotionally, you’re also dealing with nature.

What’s the biggest drawback?
How us sailors treat the water. We use a lot of plastic water bottles. I’m turning into an environmentalist.

Who is your athletic idol?
Anna Tunnicliffe, 2008 Olympic gold medalist turned CrossFitter.

Tell us how you got your start.
My family for generations has grown up on Lake Beulah in East Troy. I was put in a learn-to-sail class at 8 years old.

Do you have any pre-event rituals?
On the way to the event I listen to the same music. I make the same breakfast. I get dressed in the same order.

 

Photo by Meghan Quadracci.

Photo by Meghan Quadracci.

Need more superstars? Pick up a copy of local sports journalist Jessie Garcia’s GOING FOR WISCONSIN GOLD (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, available at Boswell Books or Oconomowoc’s Books & Company). The sportscaster/author details some of the 400+ Olympians with Wisconsin roots, including 1904’s George Poage, the first African-American athlete to medal, all the way up to 2016 wrestler Ben Provisor. – Claire Hanan

‘Rio Bound’ appears in the August issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the August issue on newsstands beginning August 1, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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