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Sarah Hildebrandt and Brad Harper keep up secret handshake routine

Hildebrandt says, it’s not just a handshake. It also keeps her focused on the task at hand.
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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TOKYO (WNDU) - Penn High School graduate Sarah Hildebrandt is getting ready to wrestle in her first Olympic games on Thursday night.

While this is a new stage for the local Olympian, she will not be changing her routine.

Before every match, Hildebrandt and, her personal coach and Penn wrestling coach, Brad Harper like to do their secret handshake.

It’s a simple clap, fist bump and then butt slap.

The two have been doing this handshake before every one of Hildebrandt’s matches for the last 14 years.

“I think we were joking around, ‘We have to come up with a handshake,’” Harper said. “And she was like, ‘Oh yeah.’ She loved it. It just kind of happened. I guess it stuck. It has been our thing.”

Hildebrandt says, it’s not just a handshake. It also keeps her focused on the task at hand.

“I think it’s fun,” Hildebrandt said. “It lightens it up. At the end of the day, I can get very serious. Harper does an amazing job of calming me down. It’s also kind of like a que, like alright, ‘Here we go. It’s time to go.’ I know every time I do that, I am about to step on the mat. There’s a job I have to do but, hey, have fun.”

Hildebrandt will do her thing Thursday night. Wrestling in Tokyo starts at 10 PM. The match will be on the Olympic Channel and streamed online at NBCOlympics.com.

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