Exclusive Interview: Olympian John Stefanowicz
July 27, 2021

Staff Sgt. John Stefanowicz is about to compete in his first Olympic Games. Before leaving for Tokyo, John sat down with Pop Smoke Media for an exclusive interview.

Stefanowicz

SSgt John Stefanowicz being awarded the Navy and Marine Corps commendation medal. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Makayla Mack)

The Pennsylvania native has been wrestling since the 1st grade. Now he’s a member of the All-Marine Wrestling Team, and about to compete in the Olympics. However, he didn’t even know the Marine Corps had a wrestling team when he first joined.

Stefanowicz told me, “I was just a boot in Okinawa and I saw a flyer for the wrestling team, and I was like oh that’s cool.”

John joined the team in 2017, and went on to win several tournaments and titles. Despite all the success, he admitted it was a difficult journey. To begin with, his command viewed him as an asset, and didn’t want to lose him to the All-Marine Wrestling Team. After overcoming that hurdle, John quickly realized this was the hardest thing he would ever do.

“People say ‘oh you get to work out all day,’ like no, I HAVE to work out,” said¬†Stefanowicz. “We’re doing 3-a-days, on top of having to do all our duties as Marines.”

Stefanowicz went on to say the team prides itself in returning the best Marines possible back to the fleet. The unit has an average score on the Physical Fitness Test of 297 out of a possible 300. As well as an average score of 300/300 on the Combat Fitness Test. They also hammer down on Professional Military Training courses, and stay current on range, gas chamber, and swim qualifications.

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SSgt John Stefanowicz, left, and Capt. Peyton Walsh, right, with the All-Marine Wrestling Team. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christian Ayers)

John Stefanowicz: Olympian, Marine, Husband, Father

Despite spending around 200 days a year on the road, an impressive feat that floored me (especially remembering how difficult it was to do annual training when I was at a static command), I could tell Stefanowicz has immense pride in his program, and his teammates.

John joked that he may never work out again once he gets out. However, he plans to put in a package to commission as an officer in the near future. Stefanowicz is about to complete his degree in Homeland Security, focusing on Counter Terrorism and Critical Infrastructure.

He is supported in all this by a loving family. He boasted how proud he was of his wife, Samantha Stefanowicz. She competes under the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), and together they own two horses.

Follow John’s Olympic journey by following his Instagram profile @rockman_actual

Also read: Marine Olympian wishes MCMAP had more wrestling

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