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Deitchler's ready for the Olympics

Wrestling in the Olympics has always been Jake’s goal. I knew it would happen some day. I didn’t think it would happen at 18 years old,? said Jason Deitchler, who won the state Class A heavyweight title as a senior at Park Rapids in 1988. “We figured he might have a chance to make it in 2012. Jake has such a passion for wrestling. He can accomplish anything he wants, but it was still a shock that he made it. It was a lot of fun. Everybody who knows him around Park Rapids is excited.?

Deitchler needed four come-from-behind victories at the Thomas and Mack Center to earn his Olympic berth.

In his first match, Deitchler defeated Shannon Slack 1-5, 4-1, 8-1. In the semifinals, Deitchler rallied to defeat 24-year-old Harry Lester 0-5, 5-2, 5-3. Lester, a two-time world bronze medalist, was favored to win a medal at the Olympics this year. Lester retired from wrestling following the U.S. Olympic trials.

Deitchler capped off his tournament run by defeating 32-year-old Faruk Sahin in the best-of-three finals. Deitchler won the first match 0-5, 7-4, 1-1 and claimed the Olympic berth with a 2-3, 7-5, 3-0 victory in the second match. Deitchler trailed 5-0 in the second period of the second match before scoring 7 straight points to spark the win.

“Harry Lester, I thought, could win a gold medal for us in Beijing, for sure. He’s that good,? U.S. Greco-Roman coach Steve Fraser told the Associated Press. “He (Deitchler) did it on his conditioning, he outwrestled everybody, he was in everybody’s face. He got Harry Lester tired, he got Faruk Sahin tired. That’s how you beat a guy who has better skills, you take him out of his game and get him tired.?

“We knew he had a shot if he wrestled the way he can,? said Jason Deitchler. “The guys there are good and have more experience. But they weren’t used to Jake’s pace. He’s young and aggressive and he has a huge heart. He got beat in every first period, but he won every second and third period. He gave it everything he had.?

Having success on the mats is nothing new for Deitchler.

After going 15-17 as a seventh grader, Deitchler compiled a 31-14 record and finished sixth at 112 pounds at the state Class AAA tournament as an eighth grader. As a freshman, Deitchler went 32-6 and placed fifth at 125 pounds at the state Class AAA tournament.

His final three years in high school resulted in three state titles and a 123-1 record.

Deitchler went 45-1 and won his first state title at 140 pounds as a sophomore and followed with a 40-0 record and a state title at 145 as a junior. Deitchler capped off his high school career with a 38-0 record and the state title at 152 pounds. Deitchler ended his high school career with 111 consecutive victories and a school-record 201 victories.

Deitchler, who was the Greco-Roman Junior National Champion in 2007, prepared for earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team with a runner-up showing at the U.S. Nationals.

That gave Deitchler a shot at wrestling in the Olympic trials. And the 18-year-old took advantage to become the first high school wrestler to make the U.S. Olympic team since Mike Farina Greco-Roman in 1976. The only other high school wrestler to make the U.S. Olympic team was Jimmy Carr in freestyle in 1972.

Making the U.S. Olympic team has made Deitchler a celebrity. Deitchler spent Thursday and Friday in New York City doing several interviews for various media.

Deitchler will head to the Olympic training center in Colorado until July 19 and will fly to Beijing on July 28. The opening ceremonies begin Aug. 8 with Deitchler making his Olympic debut Aug. 13.

After shocking the American wrestling community by making the U.S. Olympic team, Deitchler will be looking to shock the world by bringing home an Olympic medal.

“He won a high school state championship, and the next day he’s on our (U.S. training center) mat in Colorado Springs. Every chance he can come and get better, he’s there. He’s already told us he wants to come in early for the Olympics,? Fraser told the AP. “I think it was a surprise to everybody. But the kid’s got some great hunger and I know he’s going to go to the Olympics and wrestle his heart out.?

“Jake’s goal is to win it,? said Jason Deitchler. “He beat Lester, who was considered the best Greco wrestler in the world at that weight class. His coaches believe he can do it. Everything has to fall into place, but if he performs at the level he’s capable of performing at, he can do it. Jake wants to win a gold medal for the United States.?

Jake has his eyes on the prize!