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August 31, 2008

Grappling World Team Trials preview

Grappling World Team Trials preview
USA Wrestling
08/29/2008

Ricky Lundell has his hand raised at the 2007 World Grappling Championships. Photo taken by Gary Abbott.

TheMat.com has put together a preview article of the Grappling World Team Trials set for Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif. on September 13-14. At stake are spots on the U.S. World Team which competes in Lucerne, Switzerland on December 20-21 at the Grappling World Championships.

136.5 pounds:
This weight class looks to be as action packed as last year. However, rumors have it that the defending National and World Champion Darren Uyenoyama has retired from Grappling to focus his energy on his professional MMA career and recently opened San Francisco-based gym, Fogtown Jiu-Jitsu. In the absence of Uyenoyama, 2007 Grappling World Finalist and 2x NCAA All-American, Matt Sanchez of Ultimate Fitness leaps to the head of the pack as the division favorite. Sanchez is coming off a dominating first-place performance at the Rio International Open. However, Sanchez’s road to victory could be rough. His chief rival is Brian Peterson of Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy. These two athletes met at the Grappler’s Quest Qualifier last year with Sanchez coming out the victor by a narrow margin. Peterson will be looking to avenge this loss and claim ownership to the National title. Also look for top newcomers Alejandro Zeas (Team Yamasaki), John Blalock (10th Planet), Daniel Kessler (American Pankration), Robert Lopez (Urban Jungle), and Eric Anderson (Minnesota Martial Arts Academy) to make waves in this division.

154 pounds:
21-year-old Grappling phenom, Ricky Lundell of Grappler's Edge, will look to repeat his performance from last year’s World Team Trials. Lundell will have his hands full with the slick submission artist, Cobra Kai’s Scott Bieri. Both athletes are submission-minded grapplers that are always looking to end the match. With their tremendous athleticism and willingness to take risk, this match-up could be the match of the tournament. The potential tournament spoiler will go to 3x Oklahoma State All-American Shane Roller, who has been training with Marc Laimon and will bring a tough competitive mindset to the trials. Also watch out for Greco-Roman sensations Jacob Hey from Matt Hughes’ H.I.T. Squad and No Limits MMA’s own, Shannon Slack. Both are transitioning into MMA/Grappling from Greco-Roman wrestling, and both competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for wrestling in June. The dark horse for the weight class will have to go to Colorado Fight Factory’s Keith Wilson, who is rumored to be dropping down to 154 lbs. He is a skilled grappler that is known in Grappling and wrestling circles as a strong competitor. Others to watch are Matt Holt (Team Volt), Tom Lecuyer (K3 Kombat Sports), Peter Sutton (Team Quest), Preston Marks (Ashevilla BJJ), and Kahlil Moreland (Roger Machado JJ).

176 pounds:
This is hands down, the toughest weight class of the entire Trials, and is stacked from top to bottom. The favorite is defending champion Don Ortega who proved his ability in grinding through the stacked 2007 Trials. The Adams State All-American wrestler and 2007 Grappling World Champion is a hard nose grappler that makes his opponent earn every point and position. Ortega is going to have his hands full with MMA legend and UFC veteran Dennis Hallman, who has more experience then any other grappler in the tournament. Hallman suffered a big upset last year in a one-point, semifinal loss to Paragon Jiu-Jitsu’s Bill Cooper. Hallman suffered an injury during the match and had to withdraw from the tournament. He is looking to redeem himself and take Ortega’s title. Up-and-coming grapplers and mixed-martial artists Jacob Volkman and Johny Hendricks are going to give anyone that steps in front of them a tough time. Volkman, a 3x NCAA All-American from the University of Minnesota, recently dominated the field at the Midwest Qualifier, where he submitted 2007 Grappling All-American and World bronze medalist Mike Kelly in under a minute. Hendricks is a 2x NCAA Champion and 4x NCAA All-American. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy is now a Cobra Kai disciple and has been training Grappling/MMA for the past two years. Funkmaster and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Brown Belt Joseph Gutierrez will look to ruffle some feathers with his unorthodox style and relentless submission attack. Hollywood BJJ instructor Shawn Williams and his #1 student Warren Stout will look to repeat their performances from the Last Chance Qualifier and make some noise in this stacked division. Others to watch for include Sean Spangler (Cobra Kai), Jeff Paulson (American Pankration), Brad Sandavol (Ultimate Fitness), and Mike Kelly (Gilbert Grappling).

202.5 pounds:
The entrance of Rick MacCauley has turned this division upside down. Philadelphia’s best grappler, MacCauley of Team Balance brings countless Grappler’s Quest titles and a BJJ Black Belt to the Trials. His dominating performance at the Mason Dixon Qualifier has given him the title of favorite despite being in the same division as defending champion Malcolm Havens. However, don’t count out the former Western Conference Champion and Wyoming wrestler Havens. He was World Champion last year and is known for tireless conditioning and freakish strength. Both MacCauley and Havens could be challenged by Cal State Bakersfield 1999 All-American and IFL veteran Raphael “Noodle? Davis. Noodle brings tons of size and competition experience to table. Team Quest’s David Culbertson is a dark horse at this weight, and is coming off of a big win against 2007 World Team Trials and World Finalist Matt Horwich, at the Northwest Qualifier, who is also a major threat at this weight class. Look out for Jake Rosholt, 3x NCAA Champion from Oklahoma State, although Rosholt’s participation is questionable. If he does compete, he is an instant favorite, having proven his ability to win big tournaments on more than one occasion. Other contenders are Timmy Bond (Street Sport BJJ) and Ian Murphy (Prodigy Elite). Bond is coming off of a great performance at the So Cal Qualifier by dominating all of his opponents. Murphy is a former Cal State Fullerton standout and Freestyle University National Champion and has three straight submission victories en route to victory at the Last Chance Qualifier. Others to watch out for are Chaun Sims (Easton BJJ), Dan Clark (MMA Institute), and Jeff Funicello (American Pankration).

275 pounds:
This Division can be summed up with one word, Monson! Jeff Monson is arguably the best U.S. Grappler to date and unquestionably one of the most accomplished grapplers of all time. Monson is the definition of what it means to be a competitor. He is a former World Heavyweight #1 contender and MMA legend. Where most professional fighters at his level would rest on their laurels and shy away from putting their reputation on the line, Monson defies convention. He is a unique individual. As the defending World Team Trials and World Champion, Monson will be looking to repeat. Challenging from Team Quest is Aaron Stark, an All-American wrestler from Wisconsin and former IFL fighter. Stark is coming off of a victory over Bobak Ranjbaran, in the finals of the Northwest Qualifier. Grappler’s Edge athlete Brandon Ruiz is the best wrestler of the field with a recent No. 3 ranking in Greco-Roman wrestling. Look for him to be able to give anyone trouble. Team Lutter’s Justin Wren, a Texas native and former Junior National Champion, is very familiar with stepping up at big tournaments and is learning from one of the best grapplers in the country. Also watch out for Ramon Diaz of No Limits MMA, who was a 2007 World silver medalist and strong wrestler and Sombo competitor. Others to look out for include, James Haddon (Fogtown JJ), Bobak Ranjbaran (Demon Jiu Jitsu), John Dolida (Hybrid).

Watch for the videos to appear on flowrestling.

Women’s Divisions:
The women divisions will have some of the nation’s finest female grapplers. At 105.5 lbs., Lisa Ward will be the heavy favorite with only a few possible competitors. The 121-lbs. division is turning out to be the toughest division of the trials. Defending World Team Trials and World Champion Felicia Oh is the favorite to repeat as Champion. However, rumor has it that MMA bad girl and defending 138.5 lbs. World Team Trials and World Champion, Tara LaRosa, is dropping down to take on Felicia Oh for the title of #1 female grappler in the United States. Also in this division is Bahar Shahidi, who was 2007 World Team Trials and World Finalist, losing to Oh in both finals. In the 138.5 lbs. weight class, Cindy Hales of Gracie-Barra Seattle and Josh Barnett protége Ginele Marquez-Lee will battle for the top spot. Ginele is the returning World Team Trials Finalist in the division, but Cindy Hales is known as one of the top female grapplers in the country. It should be exciting. At 158.5 lbs., Val Worthington of New Breed Jiu-Jitsu stands atop the mountain with few challengers. However, if Tori Adams of Colorado Fight Factory decides not to go down to 138.5 lbs., it should be an exciting match for the 158.5 lbs crown. Other grapplers to look out for are Angela Poe (Grappler’s Edge), Meisha Tate (Victory Athletics), Molly Helsel (NCFC), Vanessa Hardy (Riverside Submissions), Betsy Jones (Capitol Jiu-jitsu Team) Danielle Hobeika, Carla O’Connell (No Limits MMA), and Sandy Nickal (Rio Rancho Wrestling Club).

Takedown Radio features Greg Jackson, Jeff Breese, Nick Gallo, Brad Dillon, Pat Smith

Takedown Radio features Greg Jackson, Jeff Breese, Nick Gallo, Brad Dillon, Pat Smith
Scott Casber Takedown Radio
08/26/2008

The 2008 Olympiad is over. Congratulations to our medalists, to the men and women who trained so hard to make it to the big dance. Few know how difficult it is to train for opponents not yet named, dealing with the pool system, traveling half way around the world to compete and suffering from fatigue better than our Olympic Wrestling Teams. They fell short of our goals in some areas and yet still proudly represented the USA. I'm indebted to our young men and women who had the courage to dream big. The results of this years Olympiad are testament to just how good wrestling is around the world. Also, a big thank you to the men and women of the press who covered our sport. You are in a special group and our athletes deserve nothing less then the best!

TDR's Brute Adidas studios come alive again this week with special guests from around the country. The wrestling season is just around the corner, and new recruits are hankering to make themselves a place on the teams of choice. To make a difference. I can feel it. The hair on the back of my neck is starting to stand up. It's almost here!

Joining me in the studio on his way to Iraq will be Vern Jefferson, to discuss his upcoming fight with John Hurricane Halverson, along with Brad Chiafos of the Des Moines Buccaneers.

Guests on TDR this week -

Greg Jackson - Jackson's gym in Albuquerque, NM trains many top fighters. Greg will share some tips on crab mcgaw - self defense. Jackson is 100% trainer. He is not a manager. Training men like Rashad Evans, GSP, Joey V. and others he has game plans, training schedules and programs in place as individual as the fighter. Some of his top fighters include: Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, Georges St. Pierre, Nate Marquardt, Joey Villasenor, and David Loiseau.

Jeff Breese - After spending two years matside coaching at Seton Hill University, Jeff Breese made a career change. That change has led him to become the new Director of Media Relations for the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Breese, a Claysville, Pa., native, was a Pennsylvania state high school champion at McGuffey and competed on the Division I level at N.C. State, where he earned a degree in Mass Media and Public Relations with a minor in Journalism.

Nick Gallo - Silver Medalist, past Hofstra Head Coach, Hall of Fame member and one of the "Leaders" of the pack at Asics-TW promotions joins us to discuss the Olympic Games. Gallo was a member of the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Teams

Brad Dillon - An All-American on the mat and in the classroom at Lehigh, begins his first season as an assistant coach under Pat Santoro at LeHigh. Dillon followed Santoro to the University of Maryland. In his first season with the Terps, Dillon was involved in helping land a nationally ranked recruiting class and helping Charlie Pinto to the ACC title at 141 pounds. He hopes to impact the Mountain Hawks in the same fashion.

Pat Smith - a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, a 4X NCAA Champion, a former collegiate wrestler at Oklahoma State University and a former assistant coach at OSU and now one of the fathers of HS wrestling in Arkansas.

Each week for 11 years now we have provided the best coverage and conversation on our sport possible. We have great sponsors that understand the need to promote wrestling everyday of the year. Our goal is to continue that effort and you can listen in from 9 AM to 11 AM CST at Takedownradio.com LIVE or archived and by Pod Cast at Takedownradio.com Please make use of the services and products from our sponsors.

Support the fundraising campaign for the SU Coach Kunes Memorial

Support the fundraising campaign for the SU Coach Kunes Memorial
Charlie Kunes Memorial Fund Committee
08/27/2008

Susquehanna University (SU) wrestling founder and 25-year head coach Charlie Kunes passed away in 2006 in his hometown of State College, PA. Soon after a small group of wrestling alumni contacted SU and began discussing the establishment of a permanent campus memorial in recognition of his long and devoted service to SU, its student athletes, and the greater Selinsgrove, PA community.

The wrestling alumni received the SU’s commitment to build a memorial if they could raise the estimated $15,000 needed for its construction. The memorial will be located directly in front of the Garrett Sports Complex, site of O.W. Hout’s Gymnasium and the former wrestling room. It will consist of a brick edged concrete patio with steel benches including memorial plaques to Coach and Mrs. Kunes, who also spent many great years on staff at SU.

During the summer of 2007, in an effort to demonstrate commitment to this project to the university, wrestling alumni Joel Tokarz, Todd Burns, Rick Evans, David Richards, Bill Bryson, Tom Dodd, Scott Tashjy, Ken Tashjy, and Whitney Gay made an initial contribution totaling $5,600. Consequently, the friends and alumni of SU wrestling need to raise an additional $9,400 to meet the initial fundraising goal, with an anticipated completion and dedication date in the spring of 2009.

Born in 1925 and raised in State College, Penn., Charlie Kunes Sr. played varsity football, basketball, and track at State College High School and was named to the All-Central Counties football team in 1941 and 1942. Kunes got his first taste of wrestling competition as a heavyweight during his college days at Lock Haven State College under legendary coach Hubert Jack. There he lettered in football, wrestling, and track, graduating in 1951.

Wrestling equipment including wrestling shoes, wrestling headgear, and wrestling singlets will be made available.

Kunes joined the athletic staff at SU in 1966. Kunes founded the SU wrestling program that year (1966-67) going 4-3 in duals with victories over current NCAA Division I teams American University and Hofstra University. Kunes retired after the 1990-91 season, a season in which the team set a then school record for wins at 12-3-1. In addition to being head wrestling coach, he also served as an assistant football coach, as a professor of health and physical education, and later as the Director of the Physical Education Department. He earned his Master of Science from Bucknell University in 1972.

A veteran high school and college wrestling official for 33 years, Coach Kunes helped conduct the NCAA, NAIA, and Middle Atlantic Conference Championships, the national YMCA tournament, and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) District, Regional, and State Championships. Coach Kunes served as secretary-treasurer of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Officials Association (EIWOA) and as rules interpreter for District 6 of the PIAA.

Numerous honors have been bestowed on Kunes since his days as a head coach and an active veteran wrestling official. As head coach, Kunes guided the Crusaders to a 163-165-6 record. His wrestlers won six individual Middle Atlantic Conference titles and five NCAA Division III All-America awards. SU dropped wrestling in 1996. Kunes, who had 13 winning seasons during his 25-year stint, and was inducted into the NCAA Division III Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004 when the championships were held in Dubuque, Iowa.

He was a PIAA wrestling tournament official between 1967 and 1984, and served as the head official for a number of those years. Additionally, Kunes coordinated officials’ assignments. In 1986, Kunes was one of only 21 referees ever inducted into the EIWOA Hall of Fame, which celebrated its 50th year in 2004. Kunes received another major honor in 1987 when he was inducted into the PIAA Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in Hershey. He was inducted into the Susquehanna University Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, the Lock Haven University Wrestling Hall of Fame in April 2005, and the PIAA District 4 Hall of Fame.

Kunes died October 2, 2006 at his State College home after a long illness at the age of 81. He is survived by his wife, Jane, of 60 years, and his son, Charles S. (Chip) Kunes Jr.

Coach Kunes was a wonderful teacher and coach, but above all, he was a consummate gentleman. He taught generations of young men that success comes in many forms, not all of which are represented by a winning score. He taught the value of hard work and personal accountability. He was a traditional man who demanded respect and courtesy, while always conveying the same to those he taught and coached.

By the way he lived his life; Coach Kunes’ lasting lesson for all of us is that service to others is the greatest gift we can give of ourselves. His memorial will reflect these sentiments to generations of SU students to come. Please consider a personal contribution toward the construction of this special tribute to a special man. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. Please make your gift payable to Susquehanna University – “Kunes Memorial Fund? and direct your gift to:

Ms. Angela Hoot
SU Office of Development
514 University Avenue
Selinsgrove, PA 17870-9950

Once the memorial is completed, you will be invited to attend the dedication ceremony on campus. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact wrestling alum Ken Tashjy at 978-697-6497, or tashjyk@middlesex.mass.edu. Thank you in advance for your support.

Yours in wrestling,
Charlie Kunes Memorial Fund Committee
Whitney Gay 71’, Ken Tashjy 83’, Tom Dodd 92’

August 30, 2008

Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and USAW Ohio named Nationals Events Organization of the Year

The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission (GCSC) and USAW Ohio have been named the 2008 National Events Organization of the Year by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for amateur wrestling in the United States.

The GCSC hosted the University Nationals alongside the FILA Cadet Nationals in 2007 and 2008. This marked a change in venue for the event after it was held in the Chicago area starting in 1992.

"We are honored and excited to have been given the USA Wrestling National Events Organization of the Year. It means a lot to us as we pride ourselves on the ability to help create great events and we truly value our relationship with USA Wrestling," said David Gilbert, President of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.

Both years the event was hosted in Akron, Ohio, entry records were set. In 2007, five event records were set including: largest University freestyle field (490), largest University field (freestyle and Greco-Roman combined) (604), largest FILA Cadet freestyle field (377), largest FILA Cadet Greco-Roman field (215) and largest FILA Cadet field (freestyle and Greco-Roman combined) (592).

In 2008, both the freestyle and Greco-Roman divisions at the University Nationals have set entry records this year. The University Greco-Roman Nationals had 155 entries this year, up from 114 last year, an increase of 41 wrestlers. In the University Freestyle, there are 552 entries this year, an increase of 62 wrestlers. The University Men’s total comes to 707 participants, 103 more than last year.

“The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and USA Wrestling Ohio have done a tremendous job with the University and Cadet National Championships,? said Pete Isais, USA Wrestling Director of National Events. “Their hard work and commitment has led to a record setting number of participants both years. We at USA Wrestling can think of no better way to recognize their efforts than with this award.?

The 2008 event also included the exciting addition of the Women’s University National Championships. The Women’s University Nationals were originally held alongside the Men’s University Nationals in Evanston, Ill. for five years (1998 – 2002). Since 2002, the women’s division was part of the Body Bar Women’s Nationals, an event that combined four age-group levels.

The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission is the non-profit organization that works to measurably enhance the economy, image and quality of life in the Greater Cleveland community by attracting and creating significant sporting events and activities.

USA Wrestling coordinates over 30 regional and national-level events every year. This award was created to recognize the tremendous service of thousands of volunteers who give freely of their time for the benefit of our young athletes. For several years, USA Wrestling has acknowledged the efforts of volunteer leaders, mat and pairing officials, and coaches, and felt it imperative to recognize the people who work so diligently in the many facets of our regional and national championship events.

GCSC is the second recipient of this award, which recognizes a dedicated volunteer or organization that has contributed highly to USA Wrestling’s regional and national championship events. Steve Knipp of Waterloo, Iowa was named the inaugural winner as USAW Person of the Year in 2007.

August 29, 2008

Olympic champion Henry Cejudo makes big score on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

The Henry Cejudo story got even bigger tonight when the Olympic freestyle champion made an appearance as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday, August 27.

Already considered one of the big personal stories of the Beijing Olympics, Henry Cejudo reached an even larger audience when he was interviewed on one of the most popular shows on television. Wrestling fans across the nation took great pride when this 21-year-old represented his sport with great charm and character on national television.

The Tonight Show appearance became a reality back in Beijing, China, after Cejudo’s amazing victory at 55 kg/121 lbs. on August 19. His heartfelt celebration and impressive personal story captured the attention of the world. It also caught the attention of Tonight Show’s Steve Ridgeway.

Ridgeway spent some time with Cejudo during one of his days of media tours following his victory, and decided that Henry’s story should be included on the Tonight Show.

Working closely with USA Wrestling’s Communications Manager Craig Sesker, the complicated details of Cejudo’s visit were ironed out while everybody was still over in China. When Henry arrived in Chicago from China on August 26, the Tonight Show decided to re-route him immediately to Los Angeles, where he would appear the next day with Jay Leno.

While working out the travel arrangements, Ridgeway and his colleague Bryan Branly decided to play a little trick on Henry, and also liven up the segment tremendously. Originally, the plan was to have Henry’s older brother Angel and his mother Nelly Rico attend the show as his guests.

The story of Nelly Rico, a single mom who raised Henry and his siblings under trying conditions and with great strength and love, was one of the stories which emerged when Cejudo claimed his Olympic title. Henry had not seen his mother for over a month, because she had not been able to attend the Olympics.

Working with Angel on the trick, they decided to tell Henry that his mom could not attend the show. Meanwhile, the Tonight Show staff flew Nelly and Henry’s sister Gloria Cejudo in at a later time and kept them hidden from Henry. The idea was to surprise Henry with his mother’s appearance at the end of Henry’s interview with Leno.

Meanwhile, Henry flew all the way from Beijing to Chicago, then switched over to a late night flight to Los Angeles, where he was greeted by a limousine and whisked off to the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City. There he was greeted by his brother Angel, and was told his mom was not feeling well and did not attend.

Henry became a big hit seconds after coming off the wrestling mats, in the hotel lobby when it was discovered that an Olympic champion had arrived. Many contestants for the TV series America Has Talent were in the hotel, and lined up for pictures with Henry and his Olympic gold medal. Eventually, Henry went off to get a little sleep after traveling more than a day to get home.

Henry’s day on the Tonight Show was very busy. It started with an 8:30 a.m. breakfast meeting with Tonight Show staffers Ridgeway and Branly, where Henry and Angel were interviewed and ideas about what would be discussed on the show were bantered around.

Many friends along with Cejudo family members arrived during the day, including a group that drove up from his Phoenix hometown early in the morning. By the time that the Tonight Show van pulled up to the 2:45 p.m. pickup at the hotel, there were over a dozen Cejudo supporters there to see Henry’s appearance with Jay Leno.

Cejudo was taken to his own dressing room outside the Tonight Show set, with his friends given backstage passes. Food was brought in by the Tonight Show staff, and everybody was having a good time. Eventually, Jay Leno stopped in himself to greet Henry, visit with his group of friends, and go over the night’s script a bit.

Prior to the start of the show, the friends and family were taken to seats inside the Tonight Show set in the audience. There was a warmup act prior to the start of the show, including some jokes from Leno himself. Meanwhile, Cejudo was by himself behind stage, waiting for his turn with Jay Leno.

The show started with Leno’s monologue, then an extended comedy feature from the Democratic National Convention. Next up was comedian Bill Maher, who talked for two time segments with Leno about politics and other social issues. In between segments, the Tonight Show band entertained with outstanding music, keeping the atmosphere lively.

The Cejudo segment began with video of his Olympic championship celebration, and loud applause from the audience, including the chant of USA, USA, USA. Cejudo sat down next to Leno and began to chat. Cejudo was relaxed and friendly, and soon the two were joking around, telling stories and having a good time.

When Leno asked Cejudo about his mother, Henry praised her and then said that he was sad that she was not able to attend the show. That is when Leno surprised Henry, and those in the audience, by bringing his mom Nelly onto the stage. Henry hugged his mother, and placed his Olympic gold medal around her neck, to the applause and tears of the audience. Ridgeway’s trick had worked, and Henry was given a chance to see his mom for the first time since he had left for China.

After a closing musical act, the Tonight Show ended. The Cejudo family and friends came down on the stage and took pictures with Jay Leno. Everybody went back to the dressing room, where there were hugs and many pictures taken. After Leno came back to wish Henry well, the entire group went back to the vans for a ride back to the hotel. The local NBC affiliate was waiting outside the set for a quick interview with Henry, and soon everybody, including Henry’s mother, returned to spend a night together to celebrate in Los Angeles.

August 28, 2008

Olympic champion Henry Cejudo to appear on NBC's Tonight Show on Wednesday night Aug. 27

Olympic freestyle wrestling gold medalist Henry Cejudo will appear as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday, August 27.

The show airs at 11: 35 p.m. Eastern time. Check your local listings for time and station in your area.

Cejudo captured America’s heart with his stunning victory at 55 kg/121 lbs. on August 19 in Beijing, China. His celebration after winning, which included a heartfelt emotional reaction, captured worldwide headlines, as well as his compelling personal story.

Cejudo, became the youngest U.S. Olympic champion in wrestling in history.

Comedian Bill Maher and Cejudo are scheduled to appear on the show on Wednesday.

Cejudo flew out of Beijing on Tuesday afternoon.

ABOUT THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO

Jay Leno follows in the footsteps of legendary NBC late-night hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson and is the host of the Emmy Award-winning and top-rated "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Beginning his 15th season in May 2006, Leno has created his own unique late-night style with a combination of humor, talk and entertainment each night at 11:35 p.m. ET - the wee hours when viewers want to wind down with a few laughs before drifting off to dreamland. Considered by many to be a "variety" show, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" features a nightly monologue and news-making guests, as well as ongoing comedy segments including "Headlines," "Ask Jay Anything," "Stuff We Found on eBay," wrestling shoes "Jaywalking" and "Battle of Jaywalking All-Stars." The result is a unique and humorous look at today's pop culture.

"The Tonight Show" was honored for Emmy Awards in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999 and voted by TV Guide readers as 'Favorite Late Night Show' in 1999 and 2000. Other notable achievements include: Leno's exclusive interview with Senator John Glenn and the astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery; a pay-per-view wrestling match between Leno and Hulk Hogan; "The Tonight Show Unplugged" in response to California's power crisis; a sum of $360,200 raised for The Twin Towers Fund in 2001 and $505,100 raised to benefit the Red Cross Hurricane Katrina fund in 2005 from auctioning off Leno's celebrity-signed motorcycles on eBay and a special 2001 Thanksgiving show broadcast live on Armed Forces Radio and Television Services to entertain U.S. military personnel worldwide. In addition, the program continued to make history in April 1999 when it became the first television series to be broadcast nightly in HDTV (high-definition television). In 2004 "The Tonight Show" celebrated its 50th Anniversary with tributes to all of its former hosts, Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson.

The program has also proven to be a barometer of political clout. In 2000, the Los Angeles Times noted that "the road to the White House apparently leads through Burbank," as each presidential candidate -- Al Gore, George W. Bush, Bill Bradley and John McCain - appeared to demonstrate their relaxed, good-humored side on the show during the presidential elections. California Governer Arnold Schwarzenegger used "The Tonight Show" stage in 2003 to announce that he would be running for office and the 2004 election year brought Laura Bush, John Kerry, John Edwards and John McCain to "The Tonight Show" couch. The show also created a lot of buzz when it debuted the incredibly successful internet political cartoon "This Land" from Jib Jab for the first time on television.

Many of the world's most popular celebrities, musical guests and newsworthy names make "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" a priority stop on their publicity rounds. In addition to star-power, the "Tonight Show" production team searches for the most interesting "civilian" guests such as kid inventors and individuals with quirky talents and funny stories.

Debbie Vickers is the executive producer. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" is from Big Dog Productions in association with NBC Universal Television Studios.

August 26, 2008

Georgia, Russia,Uzbekistan win final golds in wrestling

MEDAL MATCHES ON AUGUST 21 – Georgia, Russia,Uzbekistan win final golds in wrestling
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
08/21/2008

The final night of Olympic wrestling completed with three sets of medals awarded in men’s freestyle wrestling. Claiming gold medals were athletes from Georgia, Russia and Uzbekistan.

Claiming the gold medal at 84 kg/185 lbs. was 2005 World champion Revasi Mindorashvili of Georgia, who defeated 2007 World silver medalist Yusup Abdusalomov of Tajikistan, 2-3, 3-0, 4-0. Abdulsalamov won the first period with a two-point reversal late in the period. From then on, Mindorashvili controlled the action, scoring numerous takedowns in the last two periods.

The champion at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. was Russia’s Shirvani Muradov, who defeated Taimuraz Tigiyev of Kazakhstan in the finals, 1-0, 1-0 in a competitive match.

Claiming his second career Olympic gold medal at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. was Artur Taymazov of Uzbekistan, who defeated 2007 Junior World champion Bakhtiar Akhmedov of Russia, 3-0, 1-0.

Taymazov was also the 2004 Olympic champion and 2000 Olympic silver medalist. Taymazov won the first period with a two-point takedown and a one-point takedown. In the second period, there was no scoring until the final seconds, when Taymazov scored a pushout on Akhmedov.

In the first 84 kg/185 lbs. semifinal, 2005 World bronze medalist Taras Danko of Ukraine defeated Serhat Balci of Turkey, 1-0, 2-0. Danko scored the only takedowns of the match.

2007 World champion Georgy Ketoev of Russia claimed the other 84 kg/185 lbs. bronze medal, beating Davyd Bichinashvili of Germany, 3-0, 0-2, 2-2. The key to the victory was a two-point move by Ketoev in the final period.

The bronze medalists at 96 kg/211.5 pounds were George Gogschelidze of Georgia and Khetag Gazyumov of Azerbaijan. Gogschelidze, a 2001 World champion for Russia, pinned Michel Batista of Cuba in the second period. Gazyumov scored a solid 5-0, 2-0 shutout of Georgii Tibilov of Ukraine.

In the first 120 kg bronze medal match, David Musulbes of Slovakia defeated Disney Rodriguez of Cuba, 4-0, 4-2. Musulbes scored a three-point takedown in the first period, then broke a 2-2 tie in the final period with an exposure from a cradle. Musulbes won his second career Olympic medal, to go along with an Olympic gold he won for Russia in 2000.

The other bronze at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. went to Marid Mutalimov (Kazakhstan) who defeated Fardin Masoumi of Iran, 8-3, 1-1. Mutalimov had a three-point lateral drop in the first period. He won the second period by scoring a takedown in the final seconds, winning the tiebreaker by scoring the last point.

OLYMPIC GAMES
Men’s freestyle wrestling
At Beijing, China, August 21

Gold-medal final pairings

84 kg/185 lbs.
Gold - Revasi Mindorashvili (Georgia)
Silver - Yusup Abdusalomov (Tajikistan)
Bronze – Taras Danko (Ukraine)
Bronze – Georgy Ketoev (Russia)
5th – Serhat Balci (Turkey)
5th – Davyd Bichinashvili (Germany)
7th – Novruz Temrezov (Azerbaijan)
8th – Hartuyun Yenokyan (Armenia)
9th – Zaurbek Sokhiev (Uzbekistan)
10th – Reineris Salas (Cuba)
12th – Andy Hrovat (USA)

Gold match –Mindorashvili dec. Abdulsalamov, 2-3, 3-0, 4-0
Bronze match – Danko dec. Balci, 1-0, 2-0
Bronze match - Ketoev dec. Bichinashvili, 3-0, 0-2, 2-2

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Gold - Shirvani Muradov (Russia)
Silver - Taimuraz Tigiyev (Kazakhstan)
Bronze – George Gogschelidze (Georgia)
Bronze – Khetag Gazyumov (Azerbaijan)
5th – Michel Batista (Cuba)
5th – Georgii Tibilov (Ukraine)
7th- Kurban Kurbanov (Uzbekistan)
8th – Gergely Kiss (Hungary)
9th –Hakan Koc (Turkey)
10th – Saeid Abrahimi (Iran)
19th – Daniel Cormier (USA)

Gold match – Muradov dec. Tigiyev, 1-0, 1-0
Bronze match – Gogschelidze pin Batista
Bronze match – Gazyumov dec. Tibilov, 5-0, 2-0

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Gold - Artur Taymazov (Uzbekistan)
Silver - Bakhtiyar Akhmedov (Russia)
Bronze – David Musulbes (Slovakia)
Bronze – Marid Mutalimov (Kazakhstan)
5th – Disney Rodriguez (Cuba)
5th – Fardin Masoumi (Iran)

Gold match – Taymazov dec. Akhmedov, 3-0, 1-0
Bronze match –Musulbes dec. Rodriguez, 4-0, 4-2
Bronze match – Mutalimov dec. Masoumi, 8-3, 1-1

August 25, 2008

Olympic champion Henry Cejudo takes part in USOC Closing Press Conference

Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo has had the time of his life in Beijing.

That was evident when the best freestyle wrestler in the World at 55 kg/121 lbs. took part in the U.S. Olympic Committee Closing Press Conference on Friday afternoon at the Olympic Games Main Press Center.

Cejudo joined USOC Chairman of the Board Peter Ueberroth and USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr, and four other Olympic medalists during the 45-minute session in the main press conference room.

Cejudo, 21, became the youngest U.S. Olympic champion in wrestling when he captured the gold medal on Tuesday at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium.

"The experience here has just been phenomenal," Cejudo said. "It's everything I pictured the Olympic Games to be. The U.S. Olympic Committee did a great job with everything. We had a great facility to practice in and the USOC really took care us. Beijing has been great. I feel really blessed to have had this opportunity."

The session provided a recap of the 2008 Olympics and provided the news media with an opportunity to question the two executives and five athletes about their experience here in China.

Cejudo brought a huge number of fans and relatives with him to Beijing, thanks in large part to sales of his wrestling equipment.

August 21, 2008

Some Wrestling Videos pages to check out

Check out these videos on TheWrestlingTalk Videos:
modiconlv

August 20, 2008

Schwab eliminated in repechage in 66 kg action on Wednesday

Schwab eliminated in repechage in 66 kg action on Wednesday
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
08/20/2008



BEIJING, CHINA – Doug Schwab (Iowa City, Iowa/Gator WC) dropped his first repechage match at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., eliminating him from medal contention at 66 kg/145. lbs in Olympic men’s freestyle wrestling on Wednesday night at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium.

To say that Doug left everything on the wrestling mats is an understatement. He wrestled hard, but was defeated by Sushil Kumar of India in the repechage match, 4-1, 0-1, 3-2. Kumar scored a takedown and a leg turn early in the first period. Schwab returned in the second period with a takedown with one second left to win the period. In the third and deciding period, Kumar jumped to a 2-0 lead on a pair of takedowns, and held off a strong Schwab attack to secure the win.

Schwab lost his opening match on Wednesday morning to 2006 World bronze medalist Andriy Stadnik of Ukraine, 2-0, 4-0. When Stadnik made the gold-medal finals, it drew Schwab back into the repechage, which determines the bronze medalists.

Schwab is wrestling in his first Olympic Games. Schwab was fifth at the 2007 World Championships. He is a native of Osage, Iowa, and was a NCAA champion for the Univ. of Iowa. He is currently an assistant wrestling coach at Iowa. Schwab was married a few days after the Olympic Trials. He beat 2006 World champion Bill Zadick in the finals of the Olympic Trials. His older brother Mark was a talented freestyle wrestler.

On Wednesday morning, Ben Askren (Columbia, Mo./Sunkist Kids) went 1-1 at 74 kg/163 lbs. and was eliminated from the competition.

August 19, 2008

66kg preview of Freestyle Olympic Wrestling

66 kg:

Last year's World finalists Ramzan Shahin of Turkey and Gendry Garzon of Cuba will meet in the first round. Expect to see an exciting match here with attacks, counter-attacks, flurries and trips. Hopefully Garzon shows a little more heart than his Cuban counterpart Quintana. If he does I believe he will win this match.

2007 Junior World Champion Mehdi Taghavi will take on Canada's Veranes Garcia. Taghavi is real tough and I see him advancing.

Ikematsu of Japan, 3rd at the 2003 World Championships will be taking on last year's Bronze Medalist and 2006 Silver medalist Otar Tushishvili of Georgia. The Georgian is extremely powerful, while Ikematsu is very slick. Look for the Georgian to advance here.

Young of Korea will be taking on veteran and multiple World Champion Serafim Barzakov of Bulgaria. Barzakov is has a lead leg high crotch that catches guys and has great defense. His specialty is cradling guys off of their attacks. He is getting up there in age and doesn't appear as sharp as he used to be, but I see him advancing here.

2007 European champion Albert Batyrov of Belarus will take on North Korea's Song Chun Yang. Batyrov has good stuff and has recent wins over Shahin and Irbek Farniev of Russia. I look for Batyrov to advance here, but it will be a tough bout.

USA's Doug Schwab will be taking on 2006 World wrestling Bronze medalist Andrey Stadnik of the Ukraine. Stadnik is very experienced and has recent wins over both Murtazaliev and Farniev. Schwab is a goer and can wear his opponents down but is limited in his technique and shows almost zero par terre offense. I don't see him beating Stadnik.

The winner of this bout will face India's Sushil Kumar whose best performance was 4th at the 2003 World Championships at 60 kg.

2003 World Champion Irbek Farniev will be taking on Armenia's Suren Markosyan. 2nd in the 2003 Junior worlds at 60 kg, this will be Markosyan's first Senior World level tournament. Farniev is experienced, fast, and flexible with a solid par terre attack. He tends to have conditioning issues, but he looked absolutely fantastic at this year's World Cup with wins over both Stadnik and Garzon. Farniev advances.

Semi Finals:

Andrey Stadnik, Ukraine v. Irbek Farniev, Russia
Geandry Garzon, Cuba v. Otar Tusishvili, Georgia

Finals: Farniev v. Garzon

Gold medal: Gendry Garzon, Cuba

August 18, 2008

FILA adds U.S. wrestler Mike Zadick to the Olympic Games field at 60 kg in men's freestyle wrestling USA Wrestling

FILA adds U.S. wrestler Mike Zadick to the Olympic Games field at 60 kg in men's freestyle wrestling
USA Wrestling
08/17/2008

BEIJING, China - USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States, has been notified by the international wrestling federation FILA that U.S. wrestler Mike Zadick (Solon, Iowa/Gator WC) has been added to the field at 60 kg (132 lbs.) in men's freestyle wrestling at the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Strap on your wrestling shoes Mike, its time to go!

The United States had not qualified to participate in the Olympic Games at 60 kg during the qualification process prior to the Beijing Olympics.

USA Wrestling made a formal request to FILA to add Zadick to the Olympic Games field at 60 kg when it was learned that the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation withdrew its entry from the Olympics at that weight division due to injury.

The FILA Bureau, the governing council for international wrestling, met on Sunday to discuss the request and came to its decision at that time.

Zadick was a 2006 World silver medalist and member of the 2007 U.S. World Team. He won the 60 kg division at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in June to earn the No. 1 spot on Team USA in his weight class.

"It was determined that Mike Zadick was an Olympic eligible athlete, who has been in serious training if this opportunity became available," said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. "We are excited for him and have confidence in his ability to perform well at the Olympic Games."

Zadick will weigh in on Monday, August 18 and will compete on Tuesday, August 19.

"It's been a lifelong dream of mine to wrestle in the Olympic Games," Zadick said. "I never stopped believing it would happen. I want to thank USA Wrestling and (USA Wrestling Executive Director) Rich Bender for making this happen. I'm looking forward to having an opportunity to wrestle in the Olympics and bringing home a gold medal."

August 17, 2008

IOC strips bronze medal from Ara Abrahamian of Sweden for taking off medal during ceremony

IOC strips bronze medal from Ara Abrahamian of Sweden for taking off medal during ceremony
IOC
08/17/2008

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee, meeting today in Beijing, has reached a decision, based upon the recommendations of the IOC Disciplinary Commission, in the case of Mr Ara Abrahamian.

Mr Abrahamian is a Swedish athlete who stepped down from the podium and laid his medal on the floor during the awards ceremony for the men's Greco-Roman wrestling singlets 84kg event. He had received one of two bronze medals awarded.

The IOC Disciplinary Commission consisted of three persons: Dr Thomas Bach (Chairman), Denis Oswald and Sergey Bubka. All three are Olympians with extensive experience of elite sport etiquette.

The IOC Executive Board decided that Mr Abrahamian, Sweden:
1. Is disqualified from the event of men's Greco-Roman wrestling, 84kg.
2. Is excluded from the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing in 2008.
3. Shall have his Olympic identity and accreditation card immediately cancelled and withdrawn.

August 16, 2008

Quotes from U.S. wrestlers Brad Vering (84 kg/185 lbs.), Adam Wheeler (96 kg/211.5 lbs.) and Dremiel Byers (120 kg/264.5 lbs.) and U.S. coach Steve Fraser after Thursday's morning session of the Olympics

Quotes from U.S. Olympic Wrestling wrestlers Brad Vering (84 kg/185 lbs.), Adam Wheeler (96 kg/211.5 lbs.) and Dremiel Byers (120 kg/264.5 lbs.) and U.S. coach Steve Fraser after Thursday's morning session of the Olympics


08/15/2008

84 kg/185 lbs. - Brad Vering (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC)

On the closing seconds of the match:
"I got into the third period and I thought I was where I needed to be. I should've stayed down on the mat and not come up, and he ended up getting me for two points. He's really good at turning guys from that situation. He goes hard in there. I just didn't have the answer for him today."

On his Olympic experience:
"I've been blessed. I feel like I've had a pretty good career. I can't complain about anything. This is tough. I definitely wanted to bring home a medal for us and represent our team. You put in all this work and if you don't get the result you want that's really hard. I just have to move on to the next thing."

On his career:
"It didn't end up the way I wanted it to end up. I'm not going to let my whole career ride on one loss at the Olympic Games. I've had a lot of fun and I've learned so much and the sport has given me so much."

96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Adam Wheeler (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC)

On the semifinal loss:
"I was just trying to score and unfortunately I wasn't able to turn him. I gave it 100 percent and I wasn't able to score. I did think I did get a little overaggressive."

"I just have to put this behind me. I'll be ready for the bronze-medal match."

120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Dremiel Byers (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army)

"My offense wasn't working for me in the end when I needed it to. My lift, I wasn't able to get it off. Hindsight is 20-20, I knew I should've done more on my feet. I missed a couple key opportunities to score on my feet. I'll never get them back, I'll never get them back."

"I dropped the ball today. I apologize to anybody I let down. There's a whole lot more fight in me."

U.S. National coach Steve Fraser (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

On Byers' quarterfinal loss:
"The Swede's a tough guy. It came down to the coin toss or the ball grab or whatever. You have to score and make your own breaks out there. I feel bad for Dremiel because he's good enough to medal in this thing."

On Wheeler's semifinal loss:
"I don't know if he got away from his game plan, but he did a technique that he just started doing not too long ago - this high lock where he tries to pull the guy back. He just got into a situation where he couldn't get it and he was way high on his opponent. He was just so high and out of position, and he hasn't been in that position enough times to realize the danger of that position if he doesn't get it. I'm heartbroken for him. What a way to lose in semifinals of the Olympics - on two reversals. He won both coin flips and had it in his hands to make it happen. I feel really bad for him."

On Vering's value to the Greco-Roman program:
"Brad's meant a lot to the program. He's a class guy, he's a hard worker. He's a great example of what it takes to be the best. He lost a heartbreaker in the final seconds. If anyone deserves a good result here it's Brad Vering. Give the Armenian credit, he pulled it out."

None of the wrestlers in the greco-roman competition left their wrestling shoes on the mat. Leaving this particular piece of wrestling gear being left in the center of the ring is a notification that the wrestler has retired from the sport.

Chun grabs 5th at Olympics

Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) has qualified for a bronze medal match at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. at the women's freestyle wrestling competition at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium on Saturday.

Chun won her first two matches, but was defeated in a very tight, three-period match in the semifinals by two-time World champion and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Chiharu Icho of Japan, 1-0, 0-3, 1-1.

Icho won the first period when Chun was forced to step out of bounds. In the second period, there were no takedowns, and Chun won the ball selectiion, getting the offensive position in the leg clinch. Chun took Icho directly to her back to score three points and win the period. In the third period, Chun scored the first point on an arm throw, but Icho scored a point on a takedown out of bounds to tie the match at 1-1. Icho wins the match by scoring the last point.

As a semifinal loser, Chun moves directly to a bronze medal match. She will face the winner of the repechage match between 2004 Olympic champion Irini Merlini of Ukraine and Li Xiaomei of China. The final session begins at 4:00 p.m., with the medal matches going at 4:30 p.m. In the quarterfinals, Chun defeated Vanessa Boubryemm of France, 6-1, 2-1. Boubryemm was a 2005 World silver medalist at 51 kg/112.25 pounds and a 2001 Junior World champion.

The key move in the first period was a three-point headlock by Chun. In the second period, with the score at 1-1 and Boubryemm holding the advantage on criteria, Chun scored a takedown with four seconds left on the clock to score the 2-1 win.

In the first round, Chun needed just two periods to defeat two-time Junior World champion Sofia Mattsson of Sweden, 2-1, 4-1. Chun won the first period on a pushout within the final 10 seconds of the period. In the second period, a key three-point arm throw clinched the win for Chun.

Chun was a member of the 2000 U.S. World Team. She attended Missouri Valley College and is now a USOTC resident athlete. Chun defeated 2004 Olympic silver medalist Patricia Miranda in the Olympic Trials. She also competed in judo as a youth. wrestling shoes

Marcie Van Dusen (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) was defeated in her second match and eliminated at 55 kg/121 lbs.

In the quarterfinals, Jackeline Renteria of Colombia defeated Van Dusen, 7-2, 5-3. Renteria took the lead in both periods and never relinquished it. In the first period, Renteria broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of takedowns and then an exposure. In the final period, an early three-point counter takedown early propelled Renteria to the win.

It was a rematch of the 2007 Pan American Games finals, which was also won by Renteria.

In the first match, Van Dusen barely eluded defeat to beat two-time World bronze medalist Nataliya Snynyshyn of Ukraine, 0-4, 1-1, 7-0. Synyshyn got behind Van Dusen numerous times early in the bout, winning the first period on a three-point takedown. In the second period, Synyshyn led 1-0 most of the way, but Van Dusen scored a takedown with just one second left in the period to tie it at 1-1. Van Dusen won that period by scoring the last point. In the deciding third period, Van Dusen dominated, with a three point takedown and an exposure from the mat to get the 7-0 technical fall.

When Renteria was pinned in her semifinals match against Xu Li of China, Van Dusen was eliminated from medal contention. Only those who lose to a gold-medal finalist are eligible for the repechage matches which determine the bronze medal.

Marcie Van Dusen was 10th in the 2007 World Championships. She attended Cal-State Monterrey Bay, UM-Morris and is now a USOTC resident athlete, where she attends UCCS. She defeated previously unbeaten Saori Yoshida of Japan at the 2008 World Cup.

OLYMPIC GAMES
Women's freestyle wrestling
At Beijing, China, August 16

Gold medal pairings

48 kg/105.5 lbs.
Carol Huyhn (Canada) vs. Chiharu Icho (Japan)

55 kg/121 lbs.
Saori Yoshida (Japan) vs. Xu Li (China)

U.S. performances

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)
First match - Clarissa Chun (USA) dec. Sofia Mattsson (Sweden), 2-1, 4-1
Quarterfinals - Clarissa Chun (USA) dec. Vanessa Boubryemm (France), 6-1, 2-1
Semifinals - Chiharu Icho (Japan) dec. Clarissa Chun (USA), 1-0, 0-3, 1-1

Chun will face the winner of the repechage match between Irini Merlini of Ukraine and Li Xiaomei of China

55 kg/121 lbs. - Marcie Van Dusen (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)
First match - Marcie Van Dusen (USA) dec. Nataliya Synyshyn (Ukraine), 0-4, 1-1, 7-0
Quarterfinals - Jackeline Renteria (Colombia) dec. Marcie Van Dusen (USA), 7-2, 5-3

Van Dusen eliminated

Jake Deitchler (Ramsey, Minn./Minnesota Storm) was defeated in his first repechage match at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. and was eliminated from medal contention at the Olympic Greco-Roman competitition at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium on Wednesday afte

Jake Deitchler (Ramsey, Minn./Minnesota Storm) was defeated in his first repechage match at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. and was eliminated from medal contention at the Olympic Wrestling Greco-Roman competitition at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium on Wednesday afternoon.

Deitchler was defeated by 2003 World silver medalist Armen Vardanyan of Ukraine in a close, three-period battle. Vardanyan edged Deitchler, 1-1, 1-3, 1-1.

There were no takedowns in any of the periods. In all three periods, when the referee pulled the ball out of the bag to determine who would be on top, the ball came up blue, giving the advantage to Vardanyan each time.

In the first period, Vardanyan won 1-1 by scoring the final point by defending on the bottom last. In the second period, Deitchler blocked a throw attempt by Vardanyan and scored a two-point reversal with exposure, going on to win that period, 3-1. The deciding period finished the same as the first, with Vardanyan defending in the final 30-second par terre period for a 1-1 tie, and winning by scoring last.

In the final standings, Deitchler placed 12th, missing out on placing in the top 10 in the division.

Deitchler lost his first round match in the morning session to 2006 World silver medalist Kanatbek Begaliev of Kyrgyzstan, but was drawn back into the repechage when Begaliev earned a spot in the gold-medal finals.

Deitcher is the 18-year-old phenom who surprised the world by making the U.S. Olympic Team. He is the first wrestler in 32 years to make an Olympic team coming out of high school.

Earlier in the morning session, T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) was defeated in his opening match at 74 kg/163 lbs. and was eliminated when his opponent, Peter Basci of Hungary, did not reach the finals.

OLYMPIC GAMES
Greco-Roman wrestling
Wednesday, August 13

U.S. results
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Jake Deitchler (Ramsey, Minn./Minnesota Storm)
Kanatbek Begaliev of Kyrgyzstan dec Jake Deitchler (USA), 6-0, 3-3
Armen Vardanyan of Ukraine dec. Jake Deitchler (USA), 1-1, 1-3, 1-1

74 kg/163 lbs. - T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC)
Peter Basci (Hungary) dec. T.C. Dantzler (USA), 5-1, 2-2, 3-0

Russia dominates Olympic men's Greco-Roman wrestling

2008 Olympic Wrestling
Russia dominated the Olympic men's Greco-Roman wrestling which ended here on Thursday evening, gaining three gold medals and one silver of the most eye-catching super heavyweight competition.

Continuing the momentum of gaining two golds, in both 55kg and 60kg, on the first day of Greco-Roman wrestling, Russian Aslanbek Khushtov defeated German Mirko Englich in the men's 96kg class.

Khushtov overwhelmed his rival for the comfortable victory of two bouts after both Athens Olympic gold medalist Karam Gaber of Egypt and silver medalist Ramaz Nozadze of Georgia were knocked out early in the competition. The winning Khushtov said, "It was a long way for me to win this medal, and I think it was God's award for all my suffering and hard work."

After confessing his disappointment of being the second, Englich said, "Anyway, I felt something heavy (the silver medal) on my neck now, so I cannot complain more."

In the 120kg super heavyweight fight, defending Olympic champion Khasan Baroev of Russia was frustrated by world champion Mijain Lopez, who won Cuba its first gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Lopez said, "No one can beat Khasan except me. Both of us were in good form. Though he lost, entering the final competition was surely the great thing."

The losing Russian said, "Lopez is the best in the world. But if I had one more chance, I would have beaten him."

Italian wrestler Andrea Minguzzi won the gold medal in the men's 84kg category after a disputed semifinal fight with Swedish Ara Abrahamian.

With a brilliant throw of silver medalist Zoltan Fodor of Hungary to the passivity zone, Minguzzi unquestionably won the title in the final.

Minguzzi said, "To me, it is worth the world. I'm ecstatic right now. I couldn't be happier."

Fodor said, "I'm quite disappointed and today is Minguzzi's lucky day. He made the right action at the right moment. He is not stronger than me, but lucky."

The most frustrated wrestler on Thursday was obviously not the Hungarian. Abrahamian was enraged after being judged losing points to Minguzzi in the semifinal Thursday morning. The Swedish even posed physical threats to the head referee after failed verbal appeals.

Abrahamian, silver medalist in the Athens Olympics, continued showing his uncontrolled rage by refusing the bronze medal he won later and walking down from the podium a few seconds into the victory ceremony.

When commenting on Abrahamian refusal to accept the Olympic bronze, Minguzzi said "his action did spoil the victory ceremony. I understand he was dissatisfied with the referee given that one point was deducted. But in sports I think it is appropriate to show sportsmanship."

The Swedish said "I think that my semifinal loss was totally unjustified." The furious wrestler was persuaded by his friends to compete in the bronze medal competition.

"I didn't want to let them down, so I wrestled, but I don't care about this (bronze) medal," Abrahamian said. "This will be my last match."

China also made a breakthrough in the Olympic men's Greco-Roman wrestling. Chang Yongxiang of 74kg won China the first men's wrestling silver. Before that, the best results were the three Olympic bronze medals obtained by Sheng Zetian, who is now head coach of the Chinese national wrestling team.

August 15, 2008

Wheeler wins bronze medal at 96 kg in Greco-Roman for the first U.S. wrestling medal

Olympic Wrestling News

Adam Wheeler (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) won a bronze medal at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. on the final day of Greco-Roman wrestling at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium on Thursday evening.

He defeated Han Tae-Young of Korea in the bronze medal match, 3-1, 4-1. It was the first medal won by the United States in wrestling at the Beijing Games.

Wheeler won the first period after scoring two-points on a high gut wrench during the final par terre position. In the second period, Wheeler scored a two-point reversal from the bottom in the final par terre position to clinch the victory.

"My wife and my mother are here," said Wheeler during his press conference after the victory. "We have 19 people who came here for me, and it can't get any better than that."

Han was a 2006 Asian Games champion. His best finish at the World Championships was his 10th place performance at the 2006 World Championships in Guangzhou, China.

During the morning session, Wheeler won his first two matches, then was defeated in the semifinals by Mirko Englich of Germany, which placed him into the bronze-medal match.

"I am very happy for Adam," said National Greco-Roman Coach Steve Fraser. "He has worked hard for many years, especially the last few months. He has a great attitude. He is a wonderful, coachable kid."

Wheeler is competing on his first U.S. Senior World-level team after a number of years on the national scene. He is originally from Lancaster, Calif. Wheeler competed for the U.S. Navy, then the USOEC program at Northern Michigan Univ. before becoming a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

It was the final day of Greco-Roman competition at the Olympics. Dremiel Byers (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), who was eliminated on Thursday morning at 120 kg/264.5 lbs., placed seventh in his weight class. Two-time Olympian Brad Vering (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC), finished in 12th at 84 kg/185 lbs.

The wrestling competition resumes on Saturday, August 16 with the beginning of the women's freestyle tournament.

August 11, 2008

Preview: Soryan, Bedinadze set to win wrestling golds

Preview: Soryan, Bedinadze set to win wrestling golds


BEIJING, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Olympic wrestling competition will start on Tuesday with men's Greco-Roman 55kg and 60kg gold medals at stake.

Iran's Hamid Soryan is favored to win the 55kg title while David Bedinadze of Georgia is likely to crown himself in 60kg category.

Soryan has been dominant in the 55kg class, winning the gold medal at the last three world championships. The Beijing Olympics will be his chance to truly put a stamp on his amazing career.

One of the top wrestlers pushing Soryan over the past few years has been Park Eun-chol of South Korea, who won two worlds silver and a bronze.

Other top contenders competing in Beijing are worlds silver medalist Rovshan Bayramov of Azerbaijan, bronze medalists Nazyr Mankiev of Russia and Serbian Kristijan Fris.

Jiao Huafeng, the Asian Games gold medalist, will represent host China in the 55kg category.

Bedinadze, who has been a world championships finalist in the past two years, winning gold in 2007 and silver in 2008, is the hottest favourite in the 60kg division.

The 34-year-old veteran, who has two Olympic gold medals under his belt, is seeking a gold treble in Beijing.

But South Korea's Jung Ji-hyung, the winner in Athens 2004, won't give him a plain sailing, and Cuba's Roberto Monzon also hopes to improve his Athens runner-up finish.

August 10, 2008

Thick-skinned U.S. team seek glamour of gold

With strapped knees, bustling biceps and tight spandex suits, women's wrestling may not be the most glamorous sport at the Beijing Olympics.

However, faced with constant ridicule, torment and neglect, the United States women's wrestlers believe it is certainly one of the toughest.

"We all know we can win gold here and hope that will change the way people think about women's wrestling," two-time U.S. champion Marcie van Dusen told Reuters.

"Girls are pushed into quitting, they're neglected, so many coaches don't want to coach women.

"They make practice tougher, don't show us any moves -- they try to get rid of us."

Van Dusen, who ended world and Olympic champion Saori Yoshida's unbeaten run of 119 matches earlier this year, wrestled boys as a junior because there were no female competitors.

"Parents didn't like me wrestling their sons," she said.

"It's a lose-lose situation, if they beat a girl, so what? If they lose, it's an embarrassment.

August 9, 2008

Canadian gold medallist Daniel Igali back at Olympics as coach of Nigeria

It seemed like old times. There was Daniel Igali, Maple Leaf on his shirt, mingling and flashing his toothy grin during a Canadian Olympic wrestling team function earlier this week at the athletes village.

The former wrestler from Surrey, B.C., who won Canadians' hearts when he kissed the flag after winning gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, is back at the Summer Games. Only this time, he's not competing, nor is he a member of the Canadian team.

Igali, who retired after the Athens Olympics four years ago, has spent the past year as a coach for his native Nigeria and has two athletes competing at the Beijing Games.

"It's been a lot of fun working with some young athletes," said Igali, who dropped in on the Canadian flag-raising ceremony at the village on Wednesday. "I felt the people who had the biggest influence on me were my coaches so it's been an honourable profession and an honourable thing to do."

Honourable, yes. Easy, no.

Coming from a program like Canada's, where athletes have top-notch equipment, facilities and coaching, it's been quite an adjustment for Igali, who says disorganization is one of his biggest challenges.

"You really don't know if you're going to a tournament until the last minute," said Igali. "Funding is a big, big, big issue. It's just a general state of uncertainty."

Igali said his wrestlers had been training in Korea before they came to Beijing but when they arrived, they had to stay in the village for three days on their own because his accreditation was held up. It's not something that would have happened to him when he was wrestling for Canada.

"It's different," he said. "But that's Nigeria. It's a different culture."

Dave McKay is the coach of the Canadian men's team and was in Igali's corner when he won gold in Sydney. He said Igali has talked to him about some of the challenges he's facing in Nigeria.

"He's learning the ropes," said McKay. "We've talked about the frustrations and difficulties at times."

Igali has been coaching Wilson Siewari and Amarachi Obiajunwa for about a year.

He had initially hoped he'd be able to bring them to Canada to take advantage of the better facilities there but visa issues made that plan impossible. So he had to make do with the minimal resources at his disposal in Nigeria. There isn't much to work with but thankfully his sport doesn't need much.

"We do have wrestling mats though, which is the main component of wrestling," Igali said with a chuckle. "But it would be nice to have a bit more weight training stuff, which will gradually come. My presence there is helping a lot of things change."

Making a difference in Nigeria has been a priority of Igali's since he sought asylum in Canada following the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria. Several years ago, he set up a foundation with the goal of building a school in his home village of Eniwari. In August 2006, it opened its doors.

Obiajunwa and Siewari know how lucky they are to have him in their corner.

"They're very appreciative and they show it in every way," said Igali. "It's just different. The culture is different. If you're walking around, they won't even let me carry my own bag."

Canadian wrestlers probably wouldn't be falling over themselves to carry his bags but his presence in the gym can have a strong impact.

"He actually was at our national camp a month ago," said McKay. "It just elevated the intensity and it was a huge inspiration. When you've got a guy like that in the room, it just elevates the game."

Igali admits it will be a bit weird to be wearing another team's colours and cheering for athletes who aren't Canadian at an Olympic Games. There's not a chance Siewari could meet a Canadian wrestler in the tournament but it could happen on the women's side with Ohenewa Akuffo of Brampton, Ont., and Obiajunwa both in the 72-kilogram category.

"The Canadian team is my team," said Igali. "Any time (a Nigerian) athlete will meet a Canadian athlete, it will give me a cause for concern. As much as I want my athletes to succeed in Nigeria, I also want the Canadian wrestlers to succeed because funding will come for us. I hope if we do compete against each other it's (deep into the tournament) where both of them will win medals."

Igali said he'd be happy with top-eight finishes from Siewara and Obiajunwa but the expectations back home are higher.

"There are lots of expectations from the Nigerian government too, especially with my involvement," said Igali. "I don't think they understand how difficult it can be to medal at the Olympics."

He, of course, is quite familiar with how difficult it can be. After winning gold in Sydney, he suffered a series of injuries and had to adjust to a competing in a new weight class following changes to the Olympic wrestling program. He ended up finishing sixth in Athens.

While he's excited to be back at the Olympics, he admits, it's very different this time.

"When you're not competing, you can't control things as much as you could," he said. "If you have an athlete competing, what do you do, you're a cheerleader. You shout your voice hoarse and whatever comes out, comes out."

2008 Olympians Show poise at press conference

U.S. women wrestlers show confidence, poise in Olympic press conference

Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
08/07/2008

BEIJING, CHINA - Less than 24 hours after they landed on Chinese soil, the U.S. Olympic women's freestyle wrestling team had their press conference at the Main Press Center.

Although all of the four women wrestlers are competing in their first Olympic Games, the U.S. athletes displayed a level of confidence and poise, as well as a strong team bond. The team will compete on August 16-17 at the China Agriculture University Gymnasium.

The confidence came out when the journalists asked the team what kind of standard they wanted to set on the mats in Beijing. Ali Bernard (New Ulm, Minn./Gator WC) volunteered to answer the question.

"Our goal is for four golds," said Bernard. "We just want to make the U.S. the head power for women's wrestling. Now is the time to do it. It’s only the second time it's been at the Olympics. If we compete at the level we can compete at, I think we can set the stage."

National Women’s Coach Terry Steiner did not shy away from the high goals set by his athletes.

"The names may change, but the result must stay the same," said Steiner. "Since the last Olympics, we have had four more years. We started a university resident program at Northern Michigan. We have a great group helping these athletes. We are ready. We are very capable."

Marcie Van Dusen (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) said that there is something special about the way her team is approaching this opportunity.

"We have a huge fire inside us," said Van Dusen. "I see that in all of the girls on this team."

Randi Miller (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) talked about how the team has become close and are working together for a common goal.

"We've actually known each other for a while. Three of us live in Colorado Springs. Ali was on my first international tour I ever took. It's not like we’re strangers. We get along very well. We've been with each other on tours, on trips so we know each other's likes and dislikes. We really just know how to be around each other," said Miller.

Team Leader Stan Zeamer (Manheim, Pa.) talked about how the team spent time away from the mats this summer to become a tighter unit.

"Between training camps, we went to Breckenridge, Colorado and spent some time playing and having some fun. This group is excellent in team unity and cooperation. We've got a great spirit, willing to work hard and they're well prepared. From my perspective, I can tell you that they're ready to wrestle and support each other and it's a great, spirited team," said Zeamer.

Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) had an opportunity to talk about the special opportunity to compete in China at her first Olympics.

"I think it's really cool to come to China. I'm half Chinese and my family will be coming," said Chun. "It means a lot to be able to bring my family to where our ancestors came from. We came from southern China, but for them to be able to see the culture firsthand and immerse themselves amongst our peoples is great."

A strong contingent of Japanese media attended the press conference, and many wanted to talk to Van Dusen about her victory over Saori Yoshida of Japan at the 2008 World Cup. Yoshida had never lost an international match on the Senior level. Van Dusen was respectful of Yoshida, praising her achievements, but also indicated that she was looking forward to the challenge again.

"I heard she wanted a rematch so I thought I'd come back and give her one," said Van Dusen. "It helped my confidence. She had 119 matches without a loss so I couldn’t let her continue with that. I know I can beat the best in the world and now I have the evidence to prove it. So I'm ready to give her that rematch. Let's do it again, Yoshida.?

Olympic coach Tadaaki Hatta felt that this U.S. team could stack up against any of the powers in women’s wrestling.

"Japan is probably the best country to compete in the Olympics. Right behind them, the U.S. and maybe Russia and Ukraine," said Hatta. "I think we're going to do very well. The preparation that we went through will come through. All the wrestlers that you see right there, they're ready to go."

Bernard, who is the youngest of the group, spoke with a quiet confidence that was typical of this group of wrestlers.

"I am feeling good. I am on a roll. It is going to peak on the right day," said Bernard.


2008 Olympians Meet President Bush

The U.S. Olympic wrestling teams took part in the Opening Ceremonies on Friday night at the National Olympic Stadium.

Fifteen U.S. wrestlers from the three international styles of men's and women's freestyle, and Greco-Roman took part in the event.

Wrestling competition kicks off on Tuesday with the Greco-Roman action starting at China Agricultural University Gymnasium.

Greco-Roman will be contested Aug. 12-14, women's freestyle will compete Aug. 16-17 and men's freestyle is set for Aug. 19-21.

Former wrestler to provide monetary reward for U.S. Olympic wrestling medalists

Former wrestler to provide monetary reward for U.S. Olympic wrestling medalists

Fuel the Dream
08/08/2008

Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
In an unprecedented act of support, philanthropist and wrestling enthusiast Ken Honig of Balboa Island, Calif. has pledged to reward any U.S. Olympic wrestler that reaches the Olympic podium during the upcoming competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Honig will substantially increase the monetary reward for any U.S. wrestler that wins a medal.

Honig's gift will provide a Gold Medalist with $25,000, a Silver Medalist $17,000 and Bronze Medalist $5,000. Although Honig prefers to give anonymously, he hopes the publication and announcement of his generosity will inspire other philanthropists interested supporting U.S. Olympians during the Games.

His pledge is focused on the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team but hopes his gesture will be recognized by supporters for U.S. Olympians across the spectrum of deserving Olympic athletes.

"As an athlete and adventurer, I am fully aware of the commitment involved in high-level athletics. The immense sacrifice undertaken by the men and women of USA Wrestling is probably unfathomable to most people. The award money involved in my program is directed towards helping these athletes with their future after the Games, because we all know these Olympians compete for the love of the sport," said Honig.

The wrestling community is excited and appreciative of Honig's generosity and commitment to the U.S. team.

"Ken Honig is just one of wrestling's alumni that understand the sacrifice our Olympians have made throughout their competitive careers with the dream of representing America at the Olympic Games. On behalf of our athletes I would like to thank him for his thoughtful generosity and although I believe our athletes are primarily motivated by the love of competition and the opportunity to face the challenge of the world's finest athletes, I hope this added bonus will push them even further," said Rich Bender, USA Wrestling�s Executive Director.

2008 Women's Freestyle Olympic Wrestling team arrives in Beijing

olympic wrestling team

Less than 24 hours after they landed on Chinese soil, the U.S. Olympic women's freestyle wrestling team had their press conference at the Main Press Center.

Although all of the four women wrestlers are competing in their first Olympic Games, the U.S. athletes displayed a level of confidence and poise, as well as a strong team bond. The team will compete on August 16-17 at the China Agriculture University Gymnasium.

The confidence came out when the journalists asked the team what kind of standard they wanted to set on the mats in Beijing. Ali Bernard (New Ulm, Minn./Gator WC) volunteered to answer the question.

"Our goal is for four golds," said Bernard. "We just want to make the U.S. the head power for women's wrestling. Now is the time to do it. It�s only the second time it's been at the Olympics. If we compete at the level we can compete at, I think we can set the stage."

National Women�s Coach Terry Steiner did not shy away from the high goals set by his athletes.

"The names may change, but the result must stay the same," said Steiner. "Since the last Olympics, we have had four more years. We started a university resident program at Northern Michigan. We have a great group helping these athletes. We are ready. We are very capable."

Marcie Van Dusen (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) said that there is something special about the way her team is approaching this opportunity.

"We have a huge fire inside us," said Van Dusen. "I see that in all of the girls on this team."

Randi Miller (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) talked about how the team has become close and are working together for a common goal.

"We've actually known each other for a while. Three of us live in Colorado Springs. Ali was on my first international tour I ever took. It's not like we�re strangers. We get along very well. We've been with each other on tours, on trips so we know each other's likes and dislikes. We really just know how to be around each other," said Miller.

Team Leader Stan Zeamer (Manheim, Pa.) talked about how the team spent time away from the mats this summer to become a tighter unit.

"Between training camps, we went to Breckenridge, Colorado and spent some time playing and having some fun. This group is excellent in team unity and cooperation. We've got a great spirit, willing to work hard and they're well prepared. From my perspective, I can tell you that they're ready to wrestle and support each other and it's a great, spirited team," said Zeamer.

Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) had an opportunity to talk about the special opportunity to compete in China at her first Olympics.

"I think it's really cool to come to China. I'm half Chinese and my family will be coming," said Chun. "It means a lot to be able to bring my family to where our ancestors came from. We came from southern China, but for them to be able to see the culture firsthand and immerse themselves amongst our peoples is great."

A strong contingent of Japanese media attended the press conference, and many wanted to talk to Van Dusen about her victory over Saori Yoshida of Japan at the 2008 World Cup. Yoshida had never lost an international match on the Senior level. Van Dusen was respectful of Yoshida, praising her achievements, but also indicated that she was looking forward to the challenge again.

"I heard she wanted a rematch so I thought I'd come back and give her one," said Van Dusen. "It helped my confidence. She had 119 matches without a loss so I couldn�t let her continue with that. I know I can beat the best in the world and now I have the evidence to prove it. So I'm ready to give her that rematch. Let's do it again, Yoshida.�

Olympic coach Tadaaki Hatta felt that this U.S. team could stack up against any of the powers in women�s wrestling.

"Japan is probably the best country to compete in the Olympics. Right behind them, the U.S. and maybe Russia and Ukraine," said Hatta. "I think we're going to do very well. The preparation that we went through will come through. All the wrestlers that you see right there, they're ready to go."

Bernard, who is the youngest of the group, spoke with a quiet confidence that was typical of this group of wrestlers.

"I am feeling good. I am on a roll. It is going to peak on the right day," said Bernard.

August 8, 2008

U.S. Olympic wrestling coaches Kevin Jackson and Steve Fraser share many similarities.

U.S. Olympic wrestling coaches Kevin Jackson and Steve Fraser share many similarities.

Both have won Olympic gold medals -- Jackson in freestyle wrestling at the 1992 Barcelona Games; Fraser in Greco-Roman in 1984 in Los Angeles.

Both are at the top of their profession -- Jackson, 43, has been USA Wrestling's national team coach for freestyle since 2001; Fraser, 50, has guided Greco-Roman since 1995.

And both have strong ties to Michigan, with Jackson winning two high school state titles at Lansing Eastern and Fraser capturing one at Hazel Park.

"I learn from Kevin every day -- he's a wonderful coach and a wonderful friend," Fraser said. "And I love it that we have that Michigan connection."

Fraser, a University of Michigan grad, will be inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in February. He was the first (and remains the only) U.S. wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal in Greco-Roman.

He defeated Ilia Matei of Romania in a 1-1 criteria decision in the final.

"With a minute to go, I was losing the match," Fraser recalled. "But when the crowd started cheering -- 'USA! USA! Fraser! Fraser!' -- I reached down deeper in my belly and the next thing I knew I took him down. I was in shock, and on the awards stand, in tears. I dreamt about the moment so many times, I was wondering if it was another dream."

Fraser was part of another fulfilling moment last year when he led the U.S. Greco-Roman team to its first world championship title in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Two athletes from the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University were on that squad: Harry Lester and Joe Betterman. Neither made the Olympic team.

USOEC Greco-Roman athlete Spenser Mango of St. Louis will compete in Beijing at 121 pounds.

U-M grad Andy Hrovat is on Jackson's freestyle squad at 185 pounds.

USA Wrestling won six medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics: three in men's freestyle, two in women's freestyle and one in Greco-Roman.

"I really feel we're the team to beat" in Beijing, Fraser said. "We're wrestling six guys in the Olympics, and I believe that each one has the potential and ability to win a gold medal."

2008 us olympic freestyle wrestling team arrives in Beijing

2008 us olympic wrestling team

The final U.S. Olympic wrestling team touched down at the Beijing Capital Airport ready to get to work, the men's freestyle squad. After a long flight from San Francisco, the athletes are upbeat and ready to complete their preparation to compete at the Olympic Games.

"Everybody is excited to be here," said National Freestyle Coach Kevin Jackson as the team waited for their bus to the Olympic Village. "They are starting to feel their Olympic moments have arrived."

The freestyle Olympians will join their wrestling teammates from Greco-Roman and women�s freestyle in the Olympic Village. Like the other wrestling squads, the group will complete its training at the Beijing Normal University. The men�s freestyle wrestlers will compete on August 19-21 at the China Agricultural University Gymnasium.

Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) is the only member of the team to have competed in a previous Olympics when he took fourth at the 2004 Athens Games at 96 kg/211.5 pounds.

"I am excited. I get a chance to right the wrong. This is the fun part, when you first get here. Now we have two weeks to prepare to win medals," said Cormier.

The rest of the team will be competing at the Olympics for the first time, and all are looking forward to making their mark in Beijing.

"It was an easy flight," said Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC), who wrestles at 84 kg/185 lbs. "I am anxious to get on the mat today. We weren�t able to wrestle while we were in San Jose (at Olympic processing). I am ready to get after it."

"Training has been real good," said Doug Schwab (Iowa City, Iowa/Gator WC), who wrestles at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. "I look forward to 13 days to put the edge on. I am looking to turn it up a knotch the next few weeks."

Henry Cejudo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), the youngest team member and an Olympian at 55 kg/121 lbs., got caught up in the Olympic atmosphere when he walked out of the baggage claim and saw the crowds of media and fans waiting in the airport lobby.

"It was good seeing all these people waiting for us at the airport," said Cejudo.

The first step for the wrestlers will be to get their rooms at the Olympic Village, pick up their luggage and get acclimated to the time zone change and weather conditions.

"I want to get situated," said Ben Askren (Columbia, Mo./Sunkist Kids), the exciting young star at 74 kg/163 lbs. "I want to get to the village and get settled."

Heavyweight Steve Mocco (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York) was the other Olympian arriving on Thursday, ready to get back into the final stages of the training program.

The freestylers were planning a workout right away on the day of their arrival, and perhaps another before participating in Friday�s Opening Ceremonies.

"This team is ready," said Olympic coach Lee Kemp. "They are itching to get on the mat and work out. All of them are ready. They have demonstrated that they can step up and wrestle great matches. Everybody on this team has something to prove. If this team wrestles to it capabilities, we can win a lot of medals. It could be a great performance."

2008 us olympic wrestling team

Dremiel Byers doesn't flinch easily. The man is an Army supply sergeant and was a world champion super heavyweight in Greco Roman wrestling in 2002. He is 6 feet, 264 pounds of guts and granite. But on Thursday, the man had met his match.

2008 us olympic wrestling team

"Ain't doing all these stairs," Byers insisted. Give the man a pass. In 4,000 miles of slopes, valleys, cuts and edges, there are too many to count on the Great Wall of China, much less climb.

The U.S. Greco-Roman wrestling team scaled, joshed and at times even grappled on the Great Wall here on Thursday. Even lifts and bumps and chest bumps against its belly couldn't shake its foundations. All day, the Great Wall got the better of the great athletes, whether they were in mid-workout or just snapping photos like other tourists. As one set of inclines revealed another, Byers created a mini-faucet by scrunching the bottom roll of his shirt to wring it out.

"How many people had to build this thing?" he asked. Teammates jumped in with guesses.

"A hundred thousand?" asked Spenser Mango, an Olympic rookie.

"More than a million," asserted Brad Vering, a team veteran.

From the sixth century B.C., more than two million men were said to have died building the Wall and more than one million patrolled its interior at once to fend off northern invaders. It has become a sort of group bonding tradition for many of the Olympic teams to break the training monotony with a day of sightseeing. If it has some sort of practical connection to the sport, so much the better.

"I used to think if we'd keep these guys isolated, they'd be better able to keep their focus," says Steve Fraser, the Greco head coach who in 1984 became the first U.S. wrestler to win Olympic gold in Greco. "But I see the benefits of something like this as long as they make it to bed on time, have their meals, get that good training in. It's good to get out, good for camaraderie and team spirit. It'll help us compete. And there's something about warriors protecting their land from the enemy that draws connections to wrestlers."

Fraser's team has been on a roll these last few years, winning the world team title in '07. It's hard to argue with his formula. Other bonding sites have included Dracula's Castle in Romania, the Coliseum in Rome and the Parthenon in Athens, but the snapshots from Thursday's trip were especially memorable.

As the wrestlers left their bus, they began passing the gauntlet of souvenir-hawkers at the base of one entrance, shouting their greetings. A large donkey trailed part of the group, staring up at Rulon Gardner, the 2000 Olympic champ who is now an NBC analyst. "That's a big ass, right there," said Gardner, who has had ample chance to use the line during his days as a Wyoming farm boy.

On one end of a walkway, Jake Deitchler was negotiating a better deal on a hand-woven bamboo horn hat. On another, Tim Taylor, Byers' primary training partner, was gingerly posing on the back of a camel. "Don't buck," Byers shouted. "I need him."

The wrestlers were clearly better suited for mats. Training partner Willie Madison played a game of hacky sack. T.C. Dantzler gave up after trying to catch a butterfly that insisted on fluttering just out of his grasp. "I'm a city kid," said Dantzler, who grew up outside Chicago. "What do I know about butterflies?" A smiley round gentleman asked Gardner and Byers to pose with him, as the team broke into chants of "Buddha" and "Butterbean."

It was a first trip for all of the squad's members, including coach Brandon Paulson. "It's been like a fantasy place to me, too," Paulson said. "Until you see it for yourself, you don't know what it will be like."

Start with this: It is steep. Wrestlers climb stairs at the end of workouts all the time. Coaches regularly try to faze their athletes by sending them to the tops of high school gyms and even university stadiums. This was different. Stairs on the wall alternate from steep and frequent to narrow and long. The terrain is sometimes straight, sometimes twisting.

Wrestlers who were accustomed to jogging up and down with a certain detached ease had to look at their feet and grab the wall's sides as they increased the pace. Shon Lewis, the head coach of the U.S. Army's World Class Athlete Program, was looking over the side. "The Mongols really think they'd attack this place?" he said, scanning the vastness.

Some wrestlers started grappling, mostly to snap photos, others to release energy. Gardner and Byers, longtime rivals and still friends, traded moves. Madison later one upped Mango and roared, "a reverse lift on the Great Wall" somewhere into Manchurian wilderness.

"The thing that gets me in a place like this is not just the warrior mind set, but the history," Vering said. "It's majestic. I think there could have been these great battles where we were standing today. Think about how this place broke men down and built them up. We're trying to do the same thing."

August 7, 2008

Beijing Olympic Games set to Impress

The Beijing Olympic Games will impress the whole world, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev told Xinhua on Wednesday.

"Beijing hosting the Olympic Games for the first time is an honor for China as it is a reflection of the trust of the whole world. So, once again I would like to congratulate the Chinese people and their leaders," Nazarbayev said before setting off for a two-day visit to Mongolia, from where he will head to the Chinese capital to attend the Games' opening ceremony.

"China's preparation for the Olympic Games has been excellent. Large amounts of money have been invested in the construction of stadiums and infrastructures. The whole world is expecting a marvelous event," he said.

Kazakhstan will have 132 athletes competing in 22 disciplines at the Beijing Games. The number of participants is higher than at the Athens Olympics, and the Kazakh women's volleyball and handball teams have qualified for the global event for the first time.

The Kazakh athletes aim to win at least ten or eleven medals, said Nazarbayev, adding that all the people of his country, including himself, were looking forward to fantastic performances from their compatriots, especially in events in which Kazakhstan enjoys a traditional advantage.

The president spoke of his great love for sports as a kid and his strong interest in wrestling as a teenager. He later developed an interest in tennis, golf and other sports, and even began to learn alpine skiing at the age of 55. He also instinctively loves horsemanship.

"Life lies in motion. No matter how busy I am, I take some time to exercise, even on a long-distance flight," said Nazarbayev.

The global Olympic torch relay started in Almaty, the biggest city of Kazakhstan, in April this year and Nazarbayev was the first person to carry the flame.

"The Olympic Games is a festival of the whole world. The torch relay coming to Kazakhstan for the first time was an honor for my country," he said.

He also pointed out that developing good-neighborly relations between China and Kazakhstan is the focal point of his foreign policy. Border issues have been solved, important documents have been signed, and bilateral strategic cooperation have been lifted to a new high.

Bilateral cooperation has also progressed smoothly in international and regional organizations such as the United Nations and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Kazakh leader added.

Bilateral trade has maintained good momentum, Nazarbayev noted. Trade with China accounts for more than 10 percent of Kazakhstan's total foreign trade volume, with bilateral trade volume expected to reach 15 billion U.S. dollars in 2008.

There are 3,000 Kazakh youths studying in China at present, which is another way in which bilateral ties are being strengthened, the president said.

He expressed his wish that all athletes would perform well in Beijing and the Games would be a complete success.

"Since we are neighbors, the people of Kazakhstan sincerely bless the Chinese athletes," Nazarbayev said.

August 2, 2008

Cary Kolat Wrestling Video Library: Kolat.com

4 time all-american Cary Kolat has released a video library of wrestling technique that currently contains over 1,000 wrestling technique clips!

The Kolat.com Wrestling Video library contains wrestling technique from both standing position and mat wrestling. This is an excellent resource for all coaches and wrestlers!

2008 Olympic Wrestling in Beijing!

The 2008 US Olympic Wrestling Team biographies are up along with wrestling videos for each athlete and their respective competion.

U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman Team arrives in Beijing

U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman Team arrives in Beijing
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
08/02/2008

BEIJING, China - T.C. Dantzler has waited a long time for this moment.

Even though he was a little groggy from the marathon, 12-hour flight from San Francisco to Beijing, Dantzler was all smiles as he walked through Beijing Capital International Airport late Saturday afternoon.

The 37-year-old Dantzler has made the last five U.S. World Teams, but this is his first trip to the Olympic Games. He is scheduled to compete in the Olympics on Aug. 14 at the China Agriculture University Gymnasium.

Dantzler and the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestlers and coaches were the first American wrestling team to arrive in Beijing. The men's and women's freestyle teams are due in next week.

"Man, it's very exciting to be here and everybody is excited about bringing home that gold medal," Dantzler said. "Now that I'm here in Beijing, I can't wait to get out there and compete. I'm ready to go."

Brad Vering has been here before, but his trip to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece ended in a first-round loss. The 30-year-old Vering has improved considerably since then.

Vering won a World silver medal last year at 84 kg/185 lbs. in leading the U.S. to its first-ever team title in Greco-Roman.

"It's rejuvenating to get here," Vering said. "It's been a long trip, but it's everything we've been expecting and more since we got here. It's just beautiful. Now is when you start really realizing you're an Olympian and this is it. You're here and you're ready to compete. Once we get a little bit of rest and get ready to roll, we're 10 days out from competing."

The U.S. Greco-Roman Team is scheduled to hold its first practice in Beijing on Sunday afternoon. The team will practice at Beijing Normal University, where a number of American Olympic squads are practicing.

The U.S. team is coached by a pair of Olympic champions in U.S. National Coach Steve Fraser and Assistant National Coach Momir Petkovic.

Fraser became the first U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman champion in 1984 in Los Angeles.

"We're feeling good, and we're excited to get acclimated and get going," Fraser said. "There is a special feeling you get from taking part in an Olympic Games. We're ready to do well and have a great performance."

Petkovic won an Olympic gold medal for the former Yugoslavia at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada.

"This obviously is a huge event - it only comes along every four years so there is a lot at stake," Petkovic said. "We have a little bit younger team, but our team is real solid. We just have to go out there and keep our focus, and good things will happen."

The Greco-Roman team traveled on the same flight with U.S. Olympians in women's volleyball and track and field.

The U.S. Greco-Roman squad will compete on Aug. 12-14. Spenser Mango will compete at 55 kg/121 lbs. on Aug. 12. Jake Deitchler (66 kg/145.5 lbs.) and Dantzler will wrestle on Aug. 13. Vering, Adam Wheeler (96 kg/211.5 lbs.) and Dremiel Byers (120 kg/264.5 lbs.) are scheduled to wrestle on Aug. 14.

"We have a real nice mix of veterans and young guys on this team," Fraser said. "These young guys bring a lot to this team. This team has real good chemistry and gets along real well with each other. We're working real hard and everybody has the same mission. So it's been great."

The U.S. hopes to carry the momentum of winning the 2007 World Team title into the competition in Beijing.

"We're the defending World champions and we feel good about that," Fraser said. "But we're not taking anything for granted. I believe that every guy on our team, all six guys, can win a medal. They're going to have to bring their 'A' game and wrestle like they've never wrestled before. I'm confident we have great potential to do very well here, we just have to go out and do it."

August 1, 2008

Olympian Clarissa Chun ready to make run at gold medal in Beijing

Olympian Clarissa Chun ready to make run at gold medal in Beijing
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
07/27/2008

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Clarissa Chun walked off the mat with tears in her eyes after one of the most crushing setbacks of her career.

Chun had fallen short of making the historic first U.S. Olympic women’s freestyle wrestling team after losing to Patricia Miranda in the finals of the 2004 Olympic Trials in Indianapolis.

A short time later, U.S. National Coach Terry Steiner provided the words that fueled Chun’s fire the past four years.

“Your time will come,? Steiner told Chun back in 2004. “Your time will come.?

Chun’s time has come, and in a big way. Chun reversed her fortunes from 2004 by stunning the heavily favored Miranda on June 13 in Las Vegas to make the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team at 48 kg/105.5 lbs.

“I was so overwhelmed after I won the Trials,? Chun said. “I was so excited, happy, everything. I thought I was going to cry, but I didn’t. I may have teared up a little bit. To be able to perform like that was amazing.?

Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) now advances to wrestle at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Chun, whose father is Chinese and mother is Japanese, is scheduled to compete in the Olympics on Aug. 16.

Chun, a 2000 World Team member who grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, placed fourth at the 2008 U.S. Nationals. But Chun did throw a bit of a scare into Miranda in their semifinal matchup. Chun won the first period before Miranda came back to win the next two. Check out her wrestling videos.

The pint-sized, 4-foot-11 Chun, who looks more like a gymnast than a wrestler, came back with a determined effort at the Olympic Trials. She stormed through the Challenge Tournament, knocking off past World Team member Mary Kelly in the finals.

She then advanced to the best-of-3 finals series against Miranda, who earned a berth in the finals by virtue of winning U.S. Nationals.

Chun won the first match 4-0, 0-6, 3-1 before capturing the second bout by a 1-0, 3-1 score. Miranda won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and is a two-time World silver medalist.

Chun was cradled in the second period of the first match, but somehow fought off her back. She then regrouped to win the decisive third period and win the match.

“When she got that cradle, I was like, ‘Oh crap, I can’t get pinned here,’? Chun said. “I just kept fighting and fighting. I knew I had won the first period and all I needed was one more period to win the match. I was able to come back in the third period.?

The 26-year-old Chun was in her first season of freestyle wrestling when she competed at the 2000 World Championships.

“I was really young and I was really intimidated out there,? she said. “I think having gone through that will help me when I get out there at the Olympics.?

Chun nearly made the 2006 World Team before falling to Kelly in a Special Wrestle-Off for the spot on the U.S. squad.

Chun has made significant gains while training with her coach, Keith Wilson, at the Colorado Fight Factory in Colorado Springs.

“A lot of it has been mental in working with Keith,? Chun said. “He’s taught me to believe in myself and he’s given me a lot of positive reinforcement that I could win the Olympic Trials. He’s taught me to stay focused for all three periods.?

An emphasis on conditioning also has been a key for Chun.

“I have worked really hard on that,? she said. “That comes in handy when you’re in shape. I wasn’t tired at all when I wrestled Patricia. I felt great in the third period.?

Chun’s performance at the Olympic Trials impressed her coaches as well.

“Clarissa needs to stay inside herself and not get caught up in the hype of the Games and wrestle,? Steiner said. “She has great movement and ability. She needs to make sure she is wrestling her kind of matches – a lot of attempts and motion.?

Chun has wrestled nearly everyone in her division that will compete in the Olympics at 48 kilos.

“Clarissa has a great chance to medal and win,? Steiner said. “I feel that when you make the U.S. team you are tested and ready to win. There is no person out there that outclasses us. We just need to put it together on the right day.?

Chun said her natural weight is right around 106 pounds.

“I don’t cut any weight,? she said. “I think that helps me because I’m always feeling good when I train. I don’t have to worry about watching my weight like a lot of the other girls.?

Chun started competing in swimming when she was 5 years old before taking up Judo a couple of years later. She started wrestling as a junior in high school.

Chun, who graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with a degree in communications, is planning to teach English to kindergarten students in Japan during the 2008-09 school year.

Chun said she likely will continue to train and compete after the Olympics.

Chun said it is starting to sink in now that she’s an Olympian.

“It’s kind of weird and kind of crazy to think about it,? she said. “It is great when people call you an Olympian, it’s really cool to hear that. I could get used to this. It’s still hard to believe I beat Patricia in two straight matches. I’m still kind of like, ‘Did I really beat her?’ It’s a great feeling.?

Chun said she will have a large contingent of family and friends, including her parents, watching her from the stands in Beijing.

“I want to win an Olympic gold medal,? Chun said. “I feel really confident right now and I’ve wrestled well against a lot of the top girls in my weight class. I had a really good tournament at the Olympic Trials, but I know I can wrestle better at the Olympics. I’ve wrestled in the World Championships, so I’m not going to be overwhelmed or intimidated by the big stage of the Olympics. I’ve been training my whole life for this opportunity. I will be ready.?