Challenged Wrestler Teaches Sportsmanship By Example

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If you ask Joey Gremli, he'll gladly show you his winning medal. "I went out there and I pinned my kid," says Gremli holding his medal. And his win was one for the record books.

"We went all six minutes he won 6-2 and I've never seen someone so happy in all my life," says a smiling Tyler Johnson. That's because Gremli has been grappling since sixth grade.

His parents enrolled him in the sport to help him contend with Asperger's syndrome and ADHD. But Saturday's match was one that displayed all the right moves.

"I don't know I have to be honest it kind of brought tears to my eyes," says Brenda Gremli, Joey's Mom.

In front of a packed gym with parents and students watching at East Alton Wood River Community High School, the two sophomores squared off. "He pinned me with the half nelson," says Johnson.

"I do the double leg and the half Nelson," says Joey Gremli.

But it was the whole gym that erupted into cheers as Joye Gremli gained the win. "It's cool to see other people feel the same way or see him the same way we see him," says Brenda Gremli.

"I think it shows a lot about a kid when he can go out there, wrestle a kid try to take him down, try to win and get up and shake his hand," says Tyler's Dad Chris Johnson.

"He was happy and so was I," says Tyler.
"Would you do it again?" asks Patrick Clark.
"Oh I'd do it over and over," nods Tyler.

And that's a lesson in sportsmanship that this 15 year old is teaching to others.

"Makes me feel proud," says Chris Johnson.  "Tyler is a good young man and what my wife and I are doing is the right thing."

"We love the sport of wrestling," agrees Amy Johnson, Tyler's Mom.  "For Joey to get his hand raised is an awesome feeling.  We have three boys hat wrestle and as a mom I know what it feels like to have your son win and get their hand raised is an awesome feeling."

And one that many won't forget, especially Joey Gremli and Tyler Johnson, true athletes.
Patrick Clark, News 11.