Watch Jake’s Story
I cannot guarantee a world championship, but I can guarantee total dedication. I will never fail a drug test, I will always be in shape, and I will conduct myself in a manner that will make my sponsors, family and country proud!”Jacob Christopher Curby
March 17,1984-January 22,2010
Jacob Curby loved wrestling, and it was a central part of his life from his early days spent in a playpen of the Lyons Township High School wrestling room to his first Greco match in Finland at age six.
Jake accomplished a great deal in his 25 years, but it was the manner in which he conducted himself that stands out in the reflections of family, friends, and friends of wrestling. He was hard-working, humble, determined, tough, and kind to others. He was, as Themat.com stated, “a warrior on and off the mat.”
He overcame a battle with cancer during high school and quietly dealt with his epilepsy. He was coached by Mark King from his early days in the Lions Wrestling Club where he won an IKWF state title through high school where he was All-State and a leading Greco-Roman competitor.
Following high school, Jake joined Ivan Ivanov in Marquette, MI where he trained at the US Olympic Education Center and attended college at Northern Michigan University. Here he began his steady climb up the Olympic ladder that he hoped would end as a world and Olympic medalist.
At the time of Jake‟s passing, he was ranked number two at 66 kg in the US. He was showing continued improvement and had some big wins this season in Europe where he beat the US National Champ in Finland and then defeated the current European bronze medalist in Sweden where he won a bronze medal.
His wrestling achievements include being a 4-time senior national placewinner; 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishes in the World Team Trials; University Nationals Champion; 2 University World Teams; Sunkist Champion; NYAC International Champion; Dave Schultz International Champion; Slovenia Grand Prix Champion; Hamid Elofir International Champion; Bronze Medal in Pan Am Tournament; Bronze medal in the Kartozia International in Tbilisi, Georgia; and a Bronze medal in the Happaranda Tournament in Sweden.
Jake was so proud to represent USA Wrestling around the world. He loved his affiliation with the NYAC. Coaching the Illinois Greco teams in Fargo brought him great satisfaction. He was the Greco clinician at the Overtime School of Wrestling and stated, “Overtime is wrestling paradise!” His message as stated on his website was simple – “you control who you are or want to become in the future. My experiences as a world-class athlete have taught me to be resilient; my battle with cancer taught me to be tough; my relationships with my God, family and country have taught me to be thankful. I cannot guarantee a world championship, but I can guarantee total dedication. I will never fail a drug test, I will always be in shape, and I will conduct myself in a manner that will make my sponsors, family and country proud!”
Jake and Amy, his fiancée, followed Coach Ivanov to the new Suples Training Center in Boise, ID at the beginning of the year and were very excited about this opportunity. Several days after returning to the US after wrestling in the Podubbny Tournament in Russia, Jake passed away while taking a nap after the afternoon practice in Boise. We will not forget this fine young man. In an effort to memorialize Jacob and what he stood for with his wonderful character USA Wrestling is establishing an award that will be called the “Jacob Curby Memorial Award.” Every year USA Wrestling will recognize a Greco-Roman athlete from each of our two Olympic Training Centers. This award will be given to a wrestler who has displayed strong personal character and commitment to the sport of Greco-Roman wrestling. The winner of this award will get his named displayed on a beautiful plaque on the wrestling room walls of each of our Olympic Training Centers.