Friday, June 21, 2019

Adam Coon out to prove haters wrong at World Wrestling Championships

Bill Khan, Livingston Daily Published 2:44 p.m. ET June 20, 2019 | Updated 1:04 a.m. ET June 21, 2019

Fowlerville's Adam Coon (left) beat Cohlton Schultz of Colorado on Saturday, June 15, 2019 to earn a berth in the Senior World Wrestling Championships. (Photo: Tony Rotundo/

Every sport’s fan base has its share of haters, keyboard warriors and other perpetual critics who can’t simply appreciate greatness, but feel compelled to pick it apart.

Adam Coon of Fowlerville doesn’t have much to prove as a wrestler, yet has found one of his greatest achievements scrutinized by people who fancy themselves experts in the sport.
Welcome to life in the age of social media.
For Coon, all this does is add to the considerable fire that burns within him to, at the very least, win another medal at the Senior Wrestling World Championships Sept. 16-17 in Kazakhstan. Coon won a Greco-Roman silver medal at 130 kilograms at the World Championships last October in Budapest, Hungary.
It’s a medal that some critics believe should be engraved with an asterisk.
The criticism?
“I got the silver, but I had the easy route,” Coon said. “If you look at the competitors I had, it wasn’t the elite of the crop, but when you look at the actual accolades of the people I had to beat to get there, it may not be as deep as some of the guys on the other side, but they were still very tough competitors. Because they weren’t the most dominant guys, they think I had a weak route to get to the finals.”

Adam Coon (Photo: Daryl Marshke/Michigan Photography)

In his first senior World Championships, Coon pinned four opponents before losing in the title match, 9-0, to 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sergey Semenov of Russia.
Coon qualified for a return trip to the World Championships last Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska, by winning 8-0 and 5-1 decisions over Cohlton Schultz of Parker, Colorado.
“I really want to prove to myself and the rest of the world I belong on the podium again, it wasn’t just some crazy thing that happened last year where I got a great route to it,” Coon said. “I want to make sure I prove to myself it’s really deserved, and hopefully it’s the top step this time. There’s probably a target painted on my back, but I also look at it as kind of being an underdog.
"Even though I got a silver last year, not a lot of people have respect for it. I want to prove them wrong. I have a lot of drive.”
Coon can be his own worst critic, too, a common trait in elite athletes. Although he won both of his matches by decisive scores in Lincoln, he realizes he has some things to clean up if he’s going to be successful in Kazakhstan.
“He was very good at showing my weaknesses,” Coon said. “He was able to pummel and get to positions I shouldn’t have let him get to. He was controlling positions. If I’m going to win a world and Olympic title, I can’t let anyone get those positions. He helped to expose my weaknesses.
“It’s always nice when you get really tough competition. You can see where you’re really at, because you’re rested. If you’re just going against local competition that isn’t as tough or you’re going against weak competition trying to get a medal, you never get better.”
Coon has won medals on the world stage four times. He was the 2011 cadet world champion in freestyle, a bronze medalist in Greco-Roman and freestyle at junior worlds in 2014 and a silver medalist at senior worlds last year.

Adam Coon of Fowlerville has tournaments in Peru and Kazakhstan in the upcoming months before he can begin focusing on an Olympic year. (Photo: Tony Rotundo,
After winning four wrestling state championships at Fowlerville and taking second in the NCAA tournament twice at the University of Michigan, Coon has been able to devote himself to wrestling full-time since completing his collegiate career in March 2018.
“It makes it really nice,” said Coon, 24. “I don’t have to do homework and all the stuff that goes along with it. I can just focus on wrestling. It makes it easy just training and making sure I’m ready to go. I don’t have to divert my time to study.
“It’s all wrestling. Wrestling’s my job right now, so I’ve got a really fun job.”
Before heading to the World Championships, Coon will compete Aug. 6-8 in Lima, Peru, at the Pan American Games. Coon won a gold medal at the Pan American Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on April 18.
Competing in Peru and Kazakhstan will add two new countries to the list in which Coon has competed. He’s also wrestled in Croatia, Germany, Hungary and Mexico.
“It’s nice to travel the world and see what it has to offer,” he said.
Coon hopes to add Japan to that list next year, with Tokyo hosting the Summer Olympic Games. The Olympic Trials will be held April 4-5 at Penn State.
Coon is unsure what lies in store for him between the World Championships and the trials.
“I’m just focused on the Pan American Games and worlds,” he said. “After that, I’ll figure it out. If you look too far forward, you start missing out on good things.”

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