A Montgomery County teenager made history this week at the 51st annual AAU Junior Olympic Games in Detroit, Mich.
On Monday, Gaithersburg resident Olivia Rondeau became the first female wrestler to capture a gold medal in the AAU Junior Olympic Games.
“She had to beat All-American wrestlers to do it,” said Don Rondeau, Olivia’s father.
The 16-year-old prodigy defeated Michigan’s Nicole Lorenz and Tennessee’s Gabrielle Neal to earn the gold medal in the inaugural Junior Olympic Girls Wrestling Nationals.
“I had no idea I was going to be the first [female to win a gold medal],” she said. “I was pretty confident.”
Rondeau defeated Lorenz with a 1:07 fall time and Neal in 1:30 to earn the championship. Rondeau is blazing new trails for female wrestlers in Montgomery County and beyond.
The teenager made waves during her tenure at Poolesville High School and aims to set the bar high for other female student-athletes in the sport of wrestling.
Rondeau took up the sport during her freshman campaign at Poolesville and through hard work and dedication became a top-tier wrestler.
“Olivia has some intangibles that you just can’t teach,” said Don Rondeau. “She has a level of toughness that can’t be taught.”
Rondeau, who leaves Poolesville as the first and only All-American wrestler in school history, will head to Wyoming Seminary in Pennsylvania this fall to compete on the Elite Olympic Wrestling Development Team.
“They view Olivia as one of those girls that has the drive and the potential to do great things in the sport,” said Don Rondeau.
Olivia Rondeau has accumulated numerous accolades since she began competitive wrestling but, according to her father, that doesn’t motivate her.
“She has one accolade that she wants,” said Don Rondeau. “She wants Olympic gold.”
Don Rondeau noted that his daughter is focused on qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“Her aspirations are winning at the highest level of the sport,” he said.