Colorado’s Adeline Gray hopes to inspire other girls despite heartbreaking loss at Olympics

(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO — World champion wrestler Adeline Gray admits she was upset after losing in the quarterfinals of the Olympics in Rio.

But a walk on the beach led the 25 year old from Denver to find a sense of gratitude and accomplishment she hopes will inspire girls and women everywhere.

Gray said after she lost and the tears dried, she focused on the fact that she was in Brazil with some of her favorite people.

She and a group of friends decided to go for a walk on the beach and came across a pick up soccer game.

“They opened their game to my group of mostly girls in dresses and a handful of our American guys,” Gray wrote on Instagram. “I got to enjoy being fast, aggressive, scoring and athletic.”

“I didn’t expect to find this happiness so fast,” Gray added.

Gray said the experience gave her new perspective.

“Billy Jean King would be upset with me for this thought but I am thankful I got to play. Not just this pick up game on the beach but in the Olympics with my family and country watching,” Gray wrote.

The Olympics only introduced women’s wrestling events in 2004.

“As a female growing up I never dreamed of this type of competition and we need to change this,” wrote Gray. “We need more acceptance of women in sports around the world.”

“I know these young men were not expecting the level of talent they got from this group of girls but we need to change how many girls compete and learn to challenge themselves so we can surprise more people and enjoy competition – enjoy life,” Gray stated.

“I will always and forever be an Olympian. I hope more girls get into competitive sports and stay in competition to help them find heights within themselves that build confidence and camaraderie between men and women.”

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Gray and her team won the soccer match.

The night of my event, after I lost and the tears dried and I let it sink in that I was in #Brazil with some of my favorite people, we went for a walk on the beach. We did not know what we were looking for but came across a pick up soccer game with some of #brazilsoccer proven depth. They opened their game to my group of mostly girls in dresses and a handful of our American guys. My team won but more importantly we got to play. I got to enjoy being fast, aggressive, scoring and athletic. The competition playing in sand was different and fun. I didn't expect to find this happiness so fast. I was playing along side some Brazilian talent and my sister and love but we had fun and I gained some perspective. Billy Jean King would be upset with me for this thought but I am thankful I got to play. Not just this pick up game on the beach but in the Olympics with my family and country watching. Thank you Brazil for the kindness and openness to allowing women to compete. As a female growing up I never dreamed of this type of competition and we need to change this. We need more acceptance of women in sports around the world. I know these young men were not expecting the level of talent they got from this group of girls but we need to change how many girls compete and learn to challenge themselves so we can surprise more people and enjoy competition-enjoy life. I have been trying to put into words how I feel thankful just to step on the mat and wrestle at the Olympics even though it did not go as I know it could have. I was there and I will always and forever be an Olympian. I hope more girls get into competitive sports and stay in competition to help them find heights within themselves that build confidence and camaraderie between men and women. #wrestlelikeagirl #playlikeagirl #womeninsport #womeninsportmatter #olympics #femaleOlympians #teamusa

A photo posted by Adeline Gray (@adelinegray) on