Southern Arizonans in 2024 Olympics

Local wrestling great Roman Bravo-Young qualifies for 2024 Paris Olympics

Sunnyside Class of 2018 graduate Roman Bravo-Young is an Olympian wrestler (Bobby Rodriguez photo)

Sunnyside graduate and native Tucsonan Roman Bravo-Young went 3-0 at the 2024 Pan-American Olympic Qualifier on Friday, making him eligible for the 2024 Olympics at 57 kg (125 pounds) representing Mexico.

He outscored his three opponents in the Pan-Am Qualifier at Acapulco, Mexico, by a combined score of 35-10. 

The results:

— Qualification: Bravo-Young won by 11-0 decision over Peru’s Enrique Huacre

— Quarterfinal: Bravo-Young won by 10-6 decision over Venezuela’s Pedro Rodriguez

— Semifinal: Bravo-Young won by 14-4 decision over Colombia’s Oscar Urbano

Puerto Rico’s Darian Cruz won his side of the bracket to qualify for the Olympics. A championship match is not scheduled because Bravo-Young and Cruz alread qualified for the Olympics by winning their semifinal match.

The Paris Olympics take place from July 26 to August 11.

“It feels amazing … a lot of people really don’t know what I come from,” Bravo-Young, who grew up in South Tucson, told FloWrestling. “It’s a dream come true, obviously trying to bring back a medal for Mexico. It’s a surreal moment. I’m an Olympian and that sticks with me forever.”

It was Bravo-Young’s second international competition at 125 pounds, eight pounds lighter than his competition weight of 133 pounds at Penn State.

Bravo-Young won a gold medal by winning four matches in the Henri Deglane in Nice, France, in January.

He is representing Mexico out of respect for his mother’s ancestory.

FloWrestling asked Bravo-Young to comment on people who may be critical of him wrestling for Mexico and not the United States.

“I block out the noise; I do what’s best for me,” Bravo-Young said. “I’ve got to eat at the end of the day. None of those people who chat in the comments and stuff, none of them make money for my family. My parents put food on my table, so I couldn’t care less what anyone says.

“I’m just trying to make it and just trying to survive, so I gotta do what’s best for me. I’m an Olympian so they can hate all they want but it is what it is. Life goes on. We’re all just trying to get through this life together.”

Bravo-Young reflected on his upbringing on the southside to now competing on the grand stage of the Olympics.

He is the first wrestler from Sunnyside’s storied program, one that won its 37th state championship two weeks ago, to qualify for the Olympics.

Sunnyside senior Audrey Jimenez, a four-time state champion similar to Bravo-Young with the Blue Devils, will attempt to qualify for the Olympics next month as part of Team USA. She will wrestle against 2023 World Championships medalist Sarah Hildebrandt in a best-of-three series for the 50 kg spot at the Paris Olympics.

“It means everything,” Bravo-Young said. “Just a kid from Tucson, Arizona. Now, we’re going to Paris. I don’t think words can describe it. You dream of moments like this. Most importantly, I just want to thank God. I’m just glad I can get the job done for my family … my grandfather, my mom … they don’t live the best lives, so every day when I’m out here living my dream, I wish I can bring them along with me.

“People don’t see that. It’s not easy, not being around them. I don’t get to bring them everywhere with me. I wish they can be living a better life like I am. I get to do so many cool things. This just means everything that I can make my family proud. That’s all I care about. I don’t really care about the haters or any noise.”

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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