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|Q & A with 2006 World Freestyle Champion Bill Zadick|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Q & A WITH WORLD CHAMPION BILL ZADICK
Bill Zadick sat down with USA Wrestling's Craig Sesker of TheMat.com on the morning after winning a World Championship in freestyle wrestling. Zadick went 5-0 to win the gold medal at 66 kg/145.5 pounds on Thursday, Sept. 28 in Guangzhou, China.
How did it feel when you woke up this morning as a World Champion?
It's a gratifying feeling. I don't feel any different as a human being. But it feels good in that this is what you've trained for, and other than the Olympics it's the ultimate goal in our sport. It's a great feeling to accomplish things you've worked so hard for.
All of your immediate family is here in China (Zadick's parents, Bob and Toni, his younger brother Mike and two sisters, Maryanne and Terri). What was that like to have them here and be able to share that gold-medal moment with them?
Awesome. Our family has been so supportive. I can't thank them enough. It's been huge, the support system we've always had. My parents have sacrificed so much time and finances and everything for us. They've gone above and beyond to support us. Anything they could do to help they've done it. To have them all here and be able to realize one of my goals it's just awesome, it really is.
What did your dad say to you after you won?
He didn't say anything at first. He just had this big smile on his face. He gave me a big hug and he called me "Champ." You could just tell he was really happy and kind of giddy. He was really excited.
Watching your brother Mike win a World silver medal and come so close to winning a championship the night before you wrestled, how did it affect your preparation and what impact did it have on you?
I knew Mike was prepared and I knew he was capable of winning. I was happy to see him perform so well. I watched his finals match and I feel like he outwrestled the guy from an offensive point of view. I know Mike's disappointed. I would have loved to have seen him win. Seeing him come so close motivated me a little bit. I knew deep down the best thing I could do to help Mike feel better and help my family feel better was to win the gold. When you come so close to realizing a lifelong dream, it hurts worse than anything. I was trying to do something to make everybody feel better. I know he will go back to work and build on this.
What did you do last night after you left the arena?
By the time I got out of doping control it was so late I went back to the hotel and took a shower and grabbed something to eat quick, and then we went to our parents hotel and just sat in the room and talked. Sometimes you don't get a lot of time to spend with your family on some of these trips. It means a lot to have them there. It was nice to sit down with them and talk about everything.
You spoke with Dan Gable on the phone just minutes after your gold-medal victory. What did Gable (who coached Zadick to an NCAA title at Iowa in 1996) say to you?
It was real early in the morning back in Iowa so I think he was a little bit groggy. He said congratulations and congratulated Mike and I and my family. It was awesome - it was just great. I learned a lot from Coach Gable that has affected my life. He's been a huge influence. It was really nice for him to call.
What will you do with your gold medal?
I haven't really thought about it too much. I don't really hang medals or stuff like that. I might give it to my parents or my sisters.
Your finals match with Otari Tushishvili of Georgia came down to a coin flip in the third period (which Zadick won en route to gaining the winning takedown). Take me through what happened there?
Before the flip, I was just thinking you've got to be ready to scrap no matter which way the flip goes. Obviously, you want the coin toss to go your way and have the best opportunity and the best position. Either way, you have to be prepared. Fortunately, it went my way.
Describe the feeling and your reaction when you finished the takedown to win the gold medal?
It's an awesome feeling. I can't really put it into words. It was pretty exciting, it was pretty fun. I wasn't planning on doing a flip or raising my hands or anything like that. But I looked over at the corner and (USA National Coach Kevin) Jackson was standing up on the platform and had his arms out and was like, "C'mon let's have it." So I took off running and jumped on him and he kind of picked me up. It was pretty exciting.
You decided to move to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs after finishing seventh at the 2004 Olympic Trials. What was the reason for the move?
I wasn't progressing as well I should have. I had to reevaluate what I needed to do to get better. It seemed like Colorado Springs was the place. I had spent a fair amount of time out there already, being on National Teams, and I knew what it was like and what being out there could do for me.
Terry Brands was hired as USA Wrestling's Resident Freestyle Coach shortly after you moved to Colorado Springs. What kind of impact did Terry (a two-time World Champion who was one of Zadick's coaches at Iowa) have on your development?
That was a big bonus for me when Terry came out there. I don't think anybody can deny the impact Terry has had on the program. I already had a relationship with Terry before he came out to Colorado, so it was a pretty smooth transition for me. Obviously, the Brands name is pretty synonymous with intensity and passion for the sport. He brings a lot to the table and he's helped me a lot.
The U.S. men's freestyle team won four medals in China. How much of a boost does that give the American squad with the Olympics just two years away?
We had a great summer of training and the coaching staff put together a great program to prepare us for this event. We were very aware of positions we needed to work on and situations we were going to be in. All the guys on the team went in with the same goal - that we wanted to be World Champions. We had a lot of great people who helped us prepare for this tournament. We were very focused and couldn't have been better prepared than we were.
Are you going to take some time off now? Do you have anything planned?
I really don't have anything planned right now. I will probably just relax a little bit and take it easy for a while. I'm a big outdoorsman, so I'll probably do some hunting this fall back in Montana with my family. We'll hang out together up there and enjoy each other's company.
Did you talk to anybody back home yet?
(USA Wrestling President) Jim Ravannack has an international phone and he was kind of letting my family make some calls back home to some of our family and friends back there. It was something like 5 in the morning in Montana and people back there were on the Internet and they already knew that I had won when we called back home. Last night when I got back to the hotel I already had e-mails from a lot of my close friends. It's really rewarding to have that support and know you have good people around you who care and want to see you do well.
When you struggled in 2004, was there a point when you thought you were done or questioned whether you could still do it? Did that ever creep into your mind?
After every competition, you kind of evaluate your situation. I never really doubted whether I was going to be competitive anymore. I had some down times, but I always knew I would be able to compete.