LANSING, N.Y. –– On Saturday, August 15 at 2 p.m., the town of Lansing held a parade for Kyle Dake, a local wrestler who won a bronze medal in freestyle wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first known Lansing athlete to win a medal at the Olympics.
The parade, which began at the Lansing Town Hall, included marchers with signs, fire trucks, a tractor pulling a float with signs and balloons, and at the rear, the car in which Dake rode. The parade lasted for an hour, concluding at Crossroads Bar and Grille at 3 p.m. –– the site of an afterparty.
According to Tyrrell, about 300 people attended the celebration, reminding Dake how special his hometown is.
“They all just come as a community,” Dake said, “and they support everyone, support each other, and everyone can put aside their differences to come together and support someone’s dream like mine.”
The younger Dake got involved in wrestling following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who were both wrestling coaches and brought him to wrestling practices.
“I just happened to be good at it,” he said. “I had the opportunity to compete and I won, so I just kept doing it,” Dake added.
After graduating from Lansing High School, Dake attended and graduated from Cornell University, where he became the first person to win four Div. I titles in four different weight classes, and became a two-time World Champion before competing in the Tokyo Olympics. He said for him, getting a bronze medal is “the next best thing” after silver or gold.
“I think it’s fantastic for a small town kid,” Eric Stickel, a Cornell police officer who also coaches Lansing varsity girls soccer, said. “He went to the local college, Cornell University, and then to see him on the biggest stage of wrestling is pretty unbelievable, it’s really surreal.”
Patrick Tyrrell, Lansing’s Parks and Recreations Supervisor, said he has known Doug Dake, who is Kyle’s father and a member of the Town Board, since Tyrrell started working for the Town 20 years ago. He described Kyle as a humble athlete who has always been willing to give back to the community by coaching wrestling for free.
“The Dake family is an amazing group of people and we are tremendously grateful they decided to call Lansing home,” Tyrrell said.
Stickel worked with Tyrrell to organize the parade. The planning efforts began within a week of the parade and involved the help of the Lansing Fire Department, Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office and Moore’s Family farm.
“It takes a village, as they say, and I think we’ve got that in the town of Lansing,” Stickel said. “Again, I can’t say enough for all the community members who stepped up to help celebrate Kyle and his success.”
Stickel said he hopes Dake’s accomplishment can make him a local role model to aspiring wrestlers by showing them what is necessary to rise to the top.
“It’s our responsibility as community members to celebrate successes and support one of our own,” Stickel said. “I think we did that, and Kyle’s been just a fantastic ambassador for Lansing, and really, all athletes in the area.”
Like Stickel, Tyrrell is proud that one of Lansing’s residents went to the Olympics and came home with a medal.
“Being an Olympic athlete is a great honor. We have one in our hometown and that needs to be celebrated. “