Teacher inspires students, wins wrestling medals
Octavius Bellamy gets his hand raised during his Freestyle bronze medal match at the 2012 Veterans World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. | Photo courtesy Octavius Bellamy
Updated: October 15, 2012 6:13PM
OAK PARK — Beyond winning two medals at the 2012 Veterans World Championships, Oak Park-River Forest High School English teacher Octavius Bellamy is an inspiration to his students.
“He’s my mentor,” OPRF senior Darius Henry said.
“He works really hard and deserves everything he’s won,” former student and training partner Marq Brumant said.
Bellamy won bronze in both the Greco-Roman and Freestyle portions of the tournament. He competed in the 35-40 year old age group, which according to Bellamy is the most competitive age range.
“I wanted to prove to myself that I’ve still got it,” he said.
The tournament was held in Budapest, Hungary, a major perk for Bellamy.
“I get to see places I never thought I would,” Bellamy said. “It was amazing there.”
Traveling is a major reason he has stuck with wrestling through the years.
“Wrestling is a great way to see the world,” he said. “I’m all about living it up.”
Bellamy joined his high school wrestling team his sophomore year and fell in love with the sport.
“I enjoy dedicating everything you have to a sport and pushing yourself,” he said. “It’s a great pay-off when you win.”
He was an average student in school, he said, with no aspirations for college, until he learned he could go to school for wrestling.
“It fueled another whole world for me,” he said.
Bellamy attended Chicago State University for his undergraduate and masters degrees.
And as an OPRF wrestling coach, Bellamy pushes his students to stick with their dreams. Henry, for instance, plans to continue with his wrestling career past OPRF, which he credits to Bellamy.
As for Bellamy, he wants to compete at the 2012 Midlands Championships hosted by Northwestern in December.
“It’s an extremely competitive competition, but I want to continue to test myself,” he said.
He will also return to the Veterans World Championships next year.
“I’m not going to quit for as long as my body holds up and I have a passion for training,” he said.