Chicago wrestler’s remarkable journey reaches brink of Olympics

Joe Rau was finally ready to quit.

For years, his friends had teased him about his devotion to wrestling, the endless hours spent in the gym and his habit of signing up for any tournament he could find. They thought it all seemed excessive given his unspectacular results.

After Rau finished his high school career by losing back-to-back matches in the 2009 state tournament — the only one he qualified for in his four years at Chicago’s St. Patrick High School — he conceded his friends might have been right.

“I did good things in high school, but I just couldn’t get over the hump,” Rau said. “I thought maybe I didn’t deserve to compete with the best guys out there. I welcomed the idea of being done and letting the dream die.” Continue reading at