Wrestling. Not a sport that everyone knows much about, but if you discuss wrestling with Brock wrestler Jevon Balfour, he could dance circles around you.
If you were to look at Brock’s athletic history, Brock`s wrestling has been one of the university’s best athletics programs by far. This is certainly a result of phenomenal coaching from Marty Calder, as well as his team of wrestlers.
Balfour is one wrestler who has shown significant athleticism throughout his wrestling career under Calder. Originally born in Scarborough, it wasn’t until Balfour moved to Brampton that he took up wrestling for the first time in grade nine.
“It was mainly to be in a social environment,” explained Balfour. “All of my friends were in sports so I was like, ‘man, I need to be in sports’. So I tried wrestling and didn’t like it for the first two years but after that I started to enjoy it.”
Balfour has done so well in his wrestling career that in his most recent challenges he went head-to-head against the world wrestling Olympics champion.
Balfour put it quite simply when he recalled that match, “It doesn’t get any harder than that. In the beginning the match was pretty good, and despite the loss, [coach] Marty didn’t seem to be upset so that was a good sign.”
Balfour is more than just an athlete though, he is a student-athlete, which can be very challenging when trying to balance practices, tournaments and schoolwork. Balfour has a unique way of keeping up with school.
“I keep an alarm on my phone to remind me to do my homework,” said Balfour. “I give myself two hours everyday for homework and when the alarm goes off, I force myself to do it or else I know it won’t get done later.”
Surely Balfour must be doing something right in terms of his athletics and academics as he was recently voted the Badger of the Week.
“I’m doing my part to represent my school as an athlete and that’s a good thing.”
Like any athlete, they are all notorious for having their own pre-game rituals no matter how odd they are. Balfour’s are pretty simple.
“Usually the day before I like to collect myself in the shower and think about what I’m going to do. Then, I like to set my stuff out for the morning” explained Balfour. “Before a match I like to eat oatmeal and listen to my favourite music, like Jay-Z or Kanye West to get pumped up.”
Often people resemble athletes to be working out at the gym during their off-days but Balfour is just like many of us when he gets the chance to have some down time. He likes to socialize with friends, but most recently he purchased a PS4 and spends most of his time relaxing and playing video games.
But Balfour doesn’t spend all of his downtime sitting in front of the T.V. His workout schedule will make you reconsider your definition of dedication.
Balfour doesn’t just go to the gym once a day. He goes twice, if not three times a day. Many athletes prefer to have an off-day or two in the week, but Balfour uses his rest day to still stay active.
“Sunday’s are kind of like rest days, the gym is usually open so sometimes we’ll go there or I’ll do a workout by myself. Sunday’s are usually less intense,” said Belfour.
Looking into the future, Balfour has set out some goals that would be any athletes dream. Balfour has set the goal to represent his country at the 2020 summer Olympics.
“I think once I graduate I want to focus on wrestling more and focus on training to prepare for the 2020 Olympics. Get my shot at that and then, maybe 2024,” explained Balfour as his eyes lit up.
Many may think that this goal is unachievable, but if you knew Balfour, you would know that he came only one step away from being an Olympic athlete in Brazil this year. As he competed for the spot at the 2016 Olympics, Balfour went to the Olympic trials and took on a competitor that he beat in nationals but unfortunately lost to in this competition.
“He came more prepared and that’s honestly what it came down to,” explained Balfour. “So right now I guess I’m an Olympic alternate but 2020 is definitely the goal.”
In order to qualify for the Olympic wrestling, one must win nationals then win in the Olympic trials. After that, there is a process by which you can qualify for the international weight class.
When asked what it will take for Balfour to get into the Olympics he explained, “Hard work and dedication. You have to put the time in.” Balfour mentioned the quote `what you put in is what you get out’ as one that he looks to as inspiration.
“You see the top guys being defeated by the underdogs because they worked harder, smarter, and put in the time,” said Balfour.
When you talk to Balfour you can truly see the inspiration that flows through his body. He is so determined to quality for the 2020 Olympics and with a coach like Calder who he himself qualified in the Olympics both in 1992 and 1996, it is easy to see that with Balfour’s continued success, we will all be cheering for him as we watch him on our television screens.
For now, Balfour prepares himself for the OUA Championships that will take place on Feburary 13. Which could then lead the third year student to the CIS Championships, that’ll take place here at Brock on Feb. 27. This season Balfour has four gold medals in four tournaments.
Assistant Sports Editor