February 18, 2013 |
THE NFL is canceling the Super Bowl in 2014 in favor of competitive croquet, and the league's best teams will have to settle for conference championships instead. You're laughing, but please try to imagine it. Understand what wrestlers from Iowa to Azerbaijan are going through right now: the shock, disbelief, anger, because their Super Bowl, the Summer Olympic Games, is in jeopardy. The International Olympic Committee, the overlords of the games, voted to recommend that freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling - arguably the world's oldest and purest form of sport - be dropped from the 2020 Olympics for reasons that so far appear unclear.
February 14, 2013 |
Rob Eiter was shocked when he heard the news. International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Olympic program on Tuesday in a surprise decision that removes one of the oldest Olympic sports from the 2020 Games. "It literally came from left field," said Eiter, a former U.S. Olympic wrestler and the fifth-year head wrestling coach at Penn. "It still hasn't really sunk in, to be honest. " The IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon - the event considered most at risk - and remove wrestling instead from its list of 25 "core sports.
October 25, 2012 |
JEFF BLATNICK, who overcame cancer to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1984 Summer Olympics and went on to a career as a sports commentator and motivational speaker, died Wednesday in New York state at age 55. Officials at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, N.Y., said he died there of heart failure. Blatnick was a high school state champion in suburban Albany in the mid-1970s and was a two-time Division II national champion and three-time Division II All-American at Springfield College in Massachusetts.
August 8, 2012 |
LONDON — Jordan Burroughs already mapped out the fastest route from the wrestling mat through the ExCel Arena stands, where he plans to hug his parents after winning a gold medal on Friday. As Burroughs continued checking the U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers' results online during the past week, the reigning 74kg world champion freestyle wrestler said he's ready to have the gold medal placed around his neck. He's already stated the rules: No one will be allowed to touch it and he's never going to take it off. The former Sicklerville, N.J., prep star smiled at reporters before Tuesday's practice and said he's never felt more at ease before a competition than now. The sleepless nights he had before the Olympic Trials while he stayed up watching film and listening to music are behind him. After returning from a weeklong training trip in Belarus with his teammates, Burroughs is champing at the bit for Friday's Olympic debut.
March 18, 2011 |
The referees wore suits, with ties, and the wrestlers didn't wear headgear. Everyone used the metric system. Welcome to freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, the only kind there is on an international level, and the only way for American grapplers to medal in the Olympics. Collegiate wrestling, the kind taking place this weekend during the NCAA Division I finals at the Wells Fargo Center, is often called "folkstyle" and isn't popular outside the United States. "No, we never wrestled like this, but wrestling has many personalities," said Mohamed Abdelfatah, who wrestled in the Olympics for his native Egypt twice.
September 29, 2000 |
Rulon Gardner now has some company when it comes to wrestling upsets at the Sydney Olympics. A day after Gardner beat the legendary Aleksandr Karelin in the Greco-Roman super-heavyweight finals, Brandon Slay upset Russia's Bouvaissa Saitiev, 4-3, in overtime and survived a protest by Russian officials to advance in freestyle wrestling. Saitiev, the defending Olympic gold medalist, is a four-time world champion whom many consider the best amateur wrestler in the world. "I can't let any of this go to my head," said Slay, 24, a graduate of Penn's Wharton School of Business from Amarillo, Texas.
June 22, 2000 |
In the fading, snapshot images that remain from the Atlanta Olympics, the mind's eye can still recall Kerri Strug landing the vault on her throbbing ankle, Michael Johnson triumphantly coasting into his victory laps with arms outstretched, and Matt Ghaffari crying uncontrollably on the victory podium, a silver medal around his neck as heavy as an anvil. Nothing stands still, least of all time, but four years later Ghaffari is once again trying to climb the final step of that podium.
December 14, 1999 |
Wrestling fans who took in the West Chester East Invitational on Saturday got a special bonus this year, an opportunity to see both the present and possibly the future of national-caliber private-school wrestling. The present was represented by the Hill School's Zach Doll, a 160-pound senior who is a three-time National Prep School Tournament finalist, a former Cadet National Freestyle finalist, and one of the leading contenders for the Plienis Award, given annually to the most dominant prep wrestler in the country.
July 24, 1996 |
This is how it is when you walk to the mat and face Alexander Karelin, the great Russian super-heavyweight wrestler in the Greco-Roman discipline. "I went out hoping I would last three minutes against the guy," Panagiotis Pikilidis said yesterday morning. "I believe I was successful. " Almost. Pikilidis, from Greece, lasted 2 minutes, 59 seconds before Karelin pinned him in a gut wrench move, and the name of that move is all you need to know about Greco-Roman wrestling. You can't use your feet or your legs, only your arms, and if you're really strong and really mean, you go for the gut and squeeze.
March 2, 1995 |
Penn has a wrestling tradition that goes back to the very first collegiate match, in 1906. But that wasn't on Brandon Slay's mind when he showed up for a visit as a high school all-American from Amarillo, Texas. Slay was used to the open plains of the Texas Panhandle. The ride from Philadelphia International Airport to Penn's campus seemed like a journey through an industrial theme park: all oil tanks, junkyards, and stacks spilling smoke and fire. Slay hoped the car he was riding in could withstand all the potholes.