After years at an elite level Leigh Jaynes gives her shoes to her daughter and walks away from the sport of wrestling. Mike Mal
Rebuttal: For now. I was married in 2012 to Ben Provisor and had my daughter Evelyn in 2013. I felt complete. Finally a support system where I had really never "felt" like I had one. Whether that was real or not, that was my perception of the life circumstances. After marriage my charming husband became a monster. Punching holes in the wall, staying out all night, flirting with other women with the definite real and valid suspicion of cheating. There was an incident where, super prego, I leaned back in a chair and his hot coffee spill on my head. Knowing it was an accident, I didn't really expect too much besides an "are you ok?" But instead, he told me it was my fault, that I was stupid for what I did and he proceeded to chase me into the bedroom where he trapped me, poked me in my forehead and chest, yelling a few inches from my face.
We were preparing to move and Ben was slotted for a month long wrestling tour of Eastern Europe. That day I called a friend to help him move the heavy stuff from the old apartment, to our new house on Falkirk Avenue Colorado Springs. He was there with a trailer and truck to assist with the heavy lifting. I had a hair appointment that took forever. Ben called me repeatedly while I was at the hair dresser. "What is taking so long?" It was single box braids and I have a ton of hair. Not to mention there was only one braider when usually there are at least to for a style like this. He grew in frustration and impatience. I took a picture to prove where I was...it didn't matter. He threatened that I would be sorry when I got home. I left...then the content calls and threats until now trembling in fear, I drove my white VW Jetti TDI to the new home. I walked though the white plastic gate in the backyard and entered through the back door. Still shaking, I murmured what I could help carry, because the main issue was that I wasn't there to assist in moving. He said there was nothing I could do at this point. That I was worthless. Upset, I walked upstairs to our bedroom, retreated to the bathroom and closed the door. He pounded and demanded for me to open it immediately. He was just going to kick it in and cause damage so I did. He approached me rapidly in the narrow bathroom and feeling threatened I tried to slide past him. My hands were up in the cactus pose that we use in yoga to convey that I wasn't interested in a fight, that I give up. Then it happened, he yelled something to the affect of "so you're going to hit me?" Shocked I was like "WHAT??!!" and he shoved me. I fell over the end table that was not yet placed next to the bed. My landing crushed Evelyn's baby bottle piggy bank and I must have hurt my arm because later there was bruise the size of my entire forearm. "What the fuck is wrong with you?" I shouted. He countered with something about me hitting him first and complete fabrication just for the friend and his son that was still downstairs in our living room, listening to the entire episode. I ran downstairs pleading for them to call the police. They left. Stating that "it looks like you have some things you all need to work out." Really? The next half an hour I tried to fight back but eventually went limp as he smashed my face into the carpet, dragged me by my legs, pulled my hair shouting verbal assaults like:
"You were nothing before you met me."
"I am going to throw you outside like the garbage you are"
"You're a worthless, ugly, fat piece of shit."
to name a few.
There were other incidents like this throughout our three year marriage. Most remarkable was the time he left me on the side of the road and drove off in my car. The time he physically kicked me out of bed. The two car accidents we got into for reckless driving but the one that resulted in a traumatic brain injury, lose of cognitive function. I was on a media tour and my memory was weird. I remember one of my teammates being frustrated with me asking the same question multiple times because strange symptoms of TBI include short term memory recollection. On my return flight, I forgot my bag and my gate. I was lost at an airport that I had been to 1000 times. I called my husband, who refused to pick me up and proceeded to attack me on how "sketchy" it was that I had conveniently miss my flight implying I was up to no good. I was devastated. I caught the next flight 6 hours later from Denver to Colorado Springs...A 1 hour drive or 15 minute flight. After catching a freaking taxi to the house, I arrive to him and Pat Downy, who was living with us, playing video games. He had no hesitation with opening up the heated, intense and destructive accusations of infidelity. The behavior of a guilty person. There were many more days like this...my home was a war zone and I was a prisoner.
Before you think I was a shrinking violet, I was not. I reported him several times. The police were called by me, my mother, his father, his sister, and I submitted statements plus pictures to the Olympic Training Center staff and Human Resource Department. Ben had a knack for returning to his sweet, accomplished charming self to relate to the cops, who were always impressed with an Olympian. They placed me and our daughter Evelyn in a safe house for one month. The Lofts on Kiowa Ave where you needed key card assess to the unit. He was mandated to attend anger management to keep his resident status. He took one class and then walked out on us leaving behind the most effective smear campaign and a trail of tears for his abandoned family. He went on to make the 2016 Olympic Team and was permitted to return to the Olympic Training Center with no consequence. The report and pictures disappeared and the feedback from the department was, "just divorce him." Advice which I followed, December 16, 2016.
Needless to say, I fled with my daughter. We moved to Maine to lick our wounds and find salvation. I failed at everything wrestling that year, but I survived the most hostile, horrific and damaging relationship of my life. I rescued my 2 year old, put her on my back and walked her through the muddy water, up the mountain to high ground where we could see clearly on where to go from there. I did not walk away from wrestling...the community turned its back on me when I needed support the most. I gave my shoes to my daughter to symbolize the shift in focus to her well being. Notice I didn't leave my shoes behind!
Didn't he know about the hardships in her childhood? That her father, a troubled Vietnam War veteran, wasn't part of her life? That her mother, overwhelmed with financial and emotional problems, had decided her children were better off in the child welfare system than in her home?
Didn't the wrestling coach understand that she had bounced from a psychiatric ward to group homes to foster families, a life that became so unbearable that, when she turned 16, she emancipated herself?
And when that decision didn't solve her problems, that she sometimes slept anywhere she could find in Mount Holly -- on park benches, in motel rooms or even in her beat-up 1981 Toyota Corolla?
So that was why, months after that challenge from Bowker in the fall of 1998, Leigh Jaynes-Provisor showed up unannounced for the first day of wrestling practice. She didn't know much about the sport, but the coach discovered how wrong his assessment was in her first match.
"She takes this kid down in 30 seconds," Bowker said. "The kid blasted her with his elbow, knocking out one of her teeth. Well, she swatted the tooth right off the mat and continued to whoop that kid's ass.
"From that point out, we knew we had something right there."......
34-Year-Old Mother And Army Officer Leigh Jaynes-Provisor Defies Odds To Win World Wrestling Bronze: by Brandon Penny
LAS VEGAS -- Leigh Jaynes-Provisor is not your typical wrestler.
That was clear from the high-pitched scream of “Yay, Mama!” that emitted from 2-year-old daughter Evelyn during Jaynes-Provisor’s post-competition press conference.
Jaynes-Provisor is not 25 – the average age of the rest of the U.S. women at the 2015 World Wrestling Championships.
She is 34.
She is a mother, a wife and a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Army.
And now, she is a world championship bronze medalist at 60 kg., a feat she accomplished 17 years after first taking up the sport in high school.
“I really march to the beat of my own drum,” Jaynes-Provisor said. “A lot of people would say that at 34 you’re past your prime, your career is over. I really don’t believe that.
“In my locker, it said a Michael Jordan quote that limitations are just illusions. You set those upon yourself.”
Jaynes-Provisor understands limitations better than most, which is why she has become a symbol. She is a symbol to men, women and children around the world that anything is possible and any obstacle can be overcome.
Hers is a story that could not get much more dramatic if it was written for a movie.
She was born to a father who struggled with drug addiction as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder from his time serving in Vietnam and a mother who was single before long.
Her mother’s inability to provide financial stability for Jaynes-Provisor and her brother led to her being placed in a group home, a time of her life that also included stints in a rehab center and the psychiatric ward of a hospital, which she says were the result of a misconception.
When her mom returned to reclaim her, the police said she was trespassing and assaulted her, according to Jaynes-Provisor.
She found a job at a fast food restaurant, then filled out paper work to become emancipated and was on her own at age 16. For the next two years, she slept wherever she could – in a car, on a bench, in a motel.
In those two years, she took up wrestling on a dare and now here she is, one of the best in the world.
Failing to make the Olympic team each of the three times women’s wrestling has been in the Games – and only making the 2007 and 2012 world teams prior to this year – Jaynes-Provisor has only just begun to see major results in the past two years, thanks to two major changes off the mat: the birth of her daughter in 2013, who she says provides her with perspective, and a new mental approach that came around the same time.
“I’ve always felt like God was in my corner, but really just recently I surrendered it all to God,” she said. “I’m a wife and a mom and a service member and a wrestler, and that’s a lot on my plate. It makes it a lot easier for me to just give it all to God and just go out there and do what I do best.”
A late bloomer if ever there was one, Jaynes-Provisor needed the time. She said there is no way that, 10 years ago, she could have handled the pressure to get past her semifinal loss to Ukraine’s Oksana Herhel (which happened in 18 seconds) like she did on Friday and come back to win bronze over Azerbaijan’s Irina Petr Netreba, 4-4 by criteria.
“I would’ve cried on my pillow and barely made it out there,” she said of how a 24-year-old Jaynes-Provisor would have handled the situation.
But with a deafening home crowd cheering her on – highlighted by her No. 1 and No. 2 fans, daughter Evelyn and husband Ben, a 2012 Olympian – she found the strength to persevere, as she has her entire life.
“My family supported me,” she said. “I know that Ben would never lie to me and he told me that I had the ability to do this, and I believe him because he is brutally honest sometimes. So I believed him when he told me I was the best in the world. He believed in me before I believed in me and it became a reality tonight.”
Also in attendance at the Orleans Arena was Jaynes-Provisor’s father, Clayton Jaynes. Jaynes-Provisor called him earlier this year to patch things up, after dealing with abandonment issues most of her life.
“My father’s here for the first time,” she said after the bronze-medal match. “It’s really a memorable occasion. He’s a Vietnam veteran. I’m in service and today’s September 11, and I just wanted to go out there and represent the United States to the best of my ability.”
She also credits much of her success to two secondary families: the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which has provided her the resources to train at such an elite level, and the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program, which she calls the “most difficult wrestling training out there. They are brutal in getting you into shape.”
Jaynes-Provisor’s performance capped a strong showing from the U.S. women, which included wins from Adeline Gray and Helen Maroulis one night prior. The bronze medal in the final women’s weight division also secured Team USA the third-place spot in the women’s team rankings, to match its placement at the past two world championships.
She hopes to inspire all aspiring wrestlers – young and old – with her story and hopefully with another medal at next year’s Olympics.
“I believe it’s the most character-building sport,” Jaynes-Provisor said. “I just say give it a shot and not everybody is going to be (the best) – obviously, I’m a late bloomer. Don’t give up, just keep learning and it’s going to teach you unique lessons in your life that will translate to literally everything that you do.”