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An Olympic hopeful as driven in his business as on the mat

Wrestler T.C. Dantzler, owner of a million-dollar company, is competing this weekend for a berth on the 2008 US Olympic Team.

By Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / June 9, 2008

Million-dollar Entrepreneur: Mr. Dantzler starts his day at 4:48 a.m. and grows his 3-year-old company in between workouts.

Mark Sappenfield

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COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. - Even sitting in his swank office amid flat-screen monitors, there is a touch of Superman about T.C. Dantzler.

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Perhaps it's because this mild-mannered business executive could at any moment put you in a headlock. Or that Mr. Dantzler's alter ego also spends his days subduing villains in a shiny, skin-tight suit.

Yet more impressive even than leaping tall buildings is Dantzler's daily to-do list: (1) Qualify for the Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team. (2) Run a million-dollar company.

For most Olympic athletes, twice-a-day training sessions and week-long trips to Baku so sweaty Azerbaijanis can twist you like a balloon animal is quite enough to fill the monthly planner. But for Dantzler and a handful of other Olympic hopefuls, downtime is business time.

It means alarms set for 4:48 a.m., forbearing spouses worthy of medals themselves, and more energy than a room full of plutonium rods.

It's a striking contrast with many athletes, who – as Olympic sports move farther from their amateur roots – opt for a lifestyle that's as stress-free as possible in their downtime, relying increasingly on sponsors and coteries of handlers that include everything from masseuses to nutritionists. But for Olympian entrepreneurs, the urge to compete is greater than sports alone can satisfy.

"I have that drive in business, too," says Dantzler, whose firm, TC logiQ, does employee background checks for its clients. "I've always known that when I stop wrestling, I want my company to be one of the top businesses in the world."

Olympic sailor John Dane has already achieved that, running one of the world's leading luxury-yacht companies, Trinity Yachts. Alpine skier and Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety has recently started his own brand of eyewear, Shred Optics. And mogul skiers Shannon Bahrke and Michelle Roark founded Silver Bean Coffee and Phi-nomenal perfumes, respectively.

Chessplayer-like approach to life

For Dantzler, the goal is simple: One day, he wants a college football bowl game named after his company. He laughs, but he is only half joking. In wrestling and in life, Dantzler has approached each move like one of the chessmen that sit on a desk in his office: deliberately, determinedly, and with a clear sense of purpose.

When he wanted to switch from freestyle wrestling to Greco-Roman style, he bought a book diagramming all the moves and practiced them in slowmotion on a willing (and rather dedicated) girlfriend.

When he wanted to become a business owner, he looked for jobs that would do more than provide fiscal fuel for his wrestling career. They were a primer on corporate America – selling annuities for Mutual Life, for instance, or working as a recruiter for MCI.

"In his head, he's always wanted to be an entrepreneur," says his wife, Tanya. "He really had to seek it out."

It was at MCI that the inspiration for TC logiQ came. "People were missing all this work because they were having court dates and attrition was high," he says. "Once we started doing background checks, our attrition improved and our liability improved."