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Chun, Pirozhkova weigh in and receive draws for Olympic women’s freestyle wrestling on Aug. 8

Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

LONDON, England – The first two U.S. women’s freestyle wrestlers who will compete in the 2012 Olympic Games have weighed in and received their draws for their competition on Wednesday, August 8: Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. and Elena Pirozhkova (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.

Chun drew the No. 14 spot, and will face two-time World bronze medalist Shasha Zhou of China in her opening match.

Should Chun win, she will face 2009 World champion Mariya Stadnik of Azerbaijan, who drew a bye in the first round.

Also in Chun’s half bracket is 2004 Olympic champion Irini Merlini of Ukraine, who would be a potential semifinal opponent.

“I don’t think Clarissa has wrestled China before. We have wrestled her before with other people. Clarissa has to come out and get her offense going. If she does that, there is nobody any more talented that Clarissa,” said National Coach Terry Steiner.

Coach Steiner is pleased with her preparation.

“Clarissa has had a great training camp. She is moving and flowing as well as she has in awhile. She comes in feeling very good and rested. She is ready to go,” he said.

Pirozhkova drew the No. 4 spot, and will face 2012 European runner-up Anastasija Grigorjeva of Latvia.

Should Pirozhkova win, she will face the winner of the match between Sylvie Datty-Ngonga Tara Agoue of the Central African Republic and Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia, a 2010 World champion at 59 kg.

“We are at the Olympic Games. We know it is a tough competition. It is the pinnacle of our sport. We need to stay focused on what we can control and get our offense going. Everything else will take care of itself,” said Steiner.

Steiner is looking forward to seeing Elena on the mat tomorrow.

“She is a very disciplined athlete and does everything we ask. Elena is ready to go. I don’t think there is anyone in the weight better than Elena. Tomorrow is the time to perform. The sky’s the limit for her,” said Steiner.

Chun will be competing in her second Olympic Games, after placing fifth at the 2008 Olympics. She was a 2008 World champion, one of only five U.S. women to ever win a World gold medal in wrestling. Chun competed in the 2000, 2009 and 2011 World Championships.

A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Chun was a state girls wrestling champion in Hawaii. She attended Missouri Valley College, before moving to Colorado Springs, Colo., where she trains at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Pirozhkova is competing in her first Olympic Games. She was a 2010 World silver medalist, and placed fifth at the 2011 World Championships. She also competed in the 2008 and 2009 World Championships. She is a past University World champion.

Born in Russia, Pirozhkova came to the USA as a child, and went to high school in Greenfield, Mass. After high school, she went directly to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she has been living and training ever since.




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