By J.R. Ogden
Randy Lewis is the first to call himself crazy.
"We already knew that, "he said with a laugh. "That's been documented for a long time."
Lewis, a two-time NCAA champion wrestler at the University of Iowa, will take the mat today for the first time in 17 years, wrestling at the 2009 Northern Plains Junior-Senior Regional Championships at Young Arena in Waterloo.
The 1984 Olympic gold medalist is 49 years old.
"I've thought about this for a long time, "said Lewis, a two-time Olympian and four-time All-American at Iowa in the late 1970s. "But every time I trained, I got hurt."
His solution? Stop training. It never really helped his wrestling anyway, he said.
"I'm not going to train, other than getting my weight down, "he said. "I'm too old to train ... but I think I'm young enough for one tournament."
Lewis said he feels 49 "when I look in the mirror."
"I'm just doing this for fun, "he said. "I'm going to put on a show and I'm going to have fun."
Fun, yes. But when the whistle blow, it will be all business. He'll wrestle at 163 pounds, up a few pounds from the 126 and 134 he wrestled in college.
"I'm going to step out their expecting to win, "he said.
It's that determination, that confidence, that help Lewis win 127 bouts as a Hawkeye, the last in 1980.
"I happen to think I'm pretty tough, "Lewis said. "I have a unique style.
"If I were in shape, my skills are as good as they ever were. I've been amazed at some of the things I've been able to do."
He said the wrestling came natural, the technique is solid and the timing still is there.
"I don't know how long those are going to last " four minutes, six minutes, "he said with a laugh.
Confidence is something Lewis has never lost, either.
"I have some skills that these guys aren't used to, "he said. "They are going to have to wrestle good to beat me."
Lewis said several friends and other wrestlers have asked him for several years to "wrestle one more time, "including former Iowa State standout Chris Bono. Lewis, too, always wondered if he still had what it takes for one last event.
"I really want to test myself, "he said.