Frank Molinaro wrestling Bryce Meredith at the U.S. Senior Nationals (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Frank Molinaro, U.S. freestyle wrestler at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2013 NCAA champ for Penn State, has symbolically placed his shoes on the mat, so to speak, by announcing that he will be retiring from wrestling competition, days after the International Olympic Committee had postponed the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics one year, to begin July 23, 2021.
Molinaro made the announcement Tuesday morning during an interview on FloWrestling Radio Live.
The 31-year-old said that, in recent days, he had time to think about his future, thanks to the coronavirus COVD-19 pandemic shutdown.
"The biggest thing I felt that rest in my soul -- that I was ready to do it," Molinaro, a native of New Jersey, told the Asbury Park Press Tuesday morning. "I waited a few days. It just felt good. I'm excited and relieved today to make the announcement and move on with my life and move on to the next chapter.''
Molinaro went on to say, at age 31, it was a "stretch'' to make the Olympics had the Games taken place in late 2020 as originally scheduled."I was stretching my body, stretching my weight cut,'' Molinaro said. "A whole another year -- it's just not for me. I need to find a good situation for my family. They've sacrificed a lot," the Penn State standout told the Ashbury Park Press.
"I've got three kids now (three sons ages 5, 3 and 2). They're getting older and older and they're getting ready to start pre-school and Kindergarten. I just want to get my family settled in. My wife is a huge part of the retirement, too. I've driven her across the country the last 8-10 years. It's just a matter of finding my next obsession.''
Molinaro said that hopes that "obsession'' will involve coaching wrestling ... and make the move to a full-time collegiate coaching, having served . He wants to move into the collegiate coaching ranks full-time. He had previously been an assistant coach, first at Rutgers University, then Virginia Tech.
"Right now, I'm entering the job search and applying for some jobs,'' Molinaro said. "I've got to figure out what the next step is for me."
Molinaro's on-the-mat career has been impressive at every level. Wrestling at Southern Regional High School, Molinaro was a three-time New Jersey state champion, and placed second at the High School Nationals. He then wrestled at Penn State for head coach Cael Sanderson, where he was a two-time Big Ten conference champ, and a four-time NCAA Division I All-American, completing his collegiate career by winning the 149-pound crown at the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Molinaro represented the U.S. in men's freestyle competition at 65 kilograms/143 pounds, finishing in fifth place at the conclusion of the 2016 Games.