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|Zadick vs. Tushishvili is the new “Bout of the Week” on USA Wrestling Audio/Video website|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling has updated its new "Bout of the Week" which has been posted as a video file on-line on TheMat.com Audio/Video website .
The featured match this week is the 2006 Bill Zadick vs. Otar Tushishvili gold medal finals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in men's freestyle nat the World Wrestling Championships in Guangzhou, China.
This match featured a veteran U.S. wrestler, Zadick, who had only one previous World Championships appearance, and a tough Georgian star, Tushishvili, was a World medalist in 2005 and reached the gold-medal round for the first time.
For Zadick, this opportunity was an inspiring story of persistence and dedication.
Zadick made his name in U.S. wrestling as a high school star from Great Falls, Montana, who won four high school state titles and competed on a national level. He attended the Univ. of Iowa to compete for the legendary Dan Gable, and was a two-time All-American, winning the NCAA title as a senbior in 1996.
After college, he pursued an international freestyle career, and climbed the rankings at 63 kg/138.75 pounds. In 1999, he placed third at the U.S. Nationals and was second behind two-time World medalist Cary Kolat in the World Team Trials. The results were the same during the 2000 season, with Zadick ultimately placing second behind Kolat at the Olympic Team Trials.
In 2001, with Kolat no longer on the mats, Zadick took over the weight class, winning both the U.S. Nationals and the World Team Trials. In his first World Championship appearance, Zadick placed seventh.
The next year, the International Olympic Committee announced that wrestling would be dropping to seven weight classes for men at the Olympics, and four women's divisions would be added. This change affected Zadick, who moved up in weight to the closest new weight class, which was up at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Also in that division was regular rival Chris Bono, who was on the U.S. World Team at 69 kg/152 lbs. the previous year and dropped down in weight to the new division.
Zadick won the 2002 U.S. Nationals, but it was Bono who emerged as the U.S. team member by winning the World Team Trials. Bono held the edged at the 2003 U.S. Nationals, but a new star emerged at the World Team Trials when Jamill Kelly shocked the nation to capture the division. Zadick was third in the World Team Trials that year.
With an Olympic spot at stake in 2004, Kelly swept both the U.S. Nationals and the Olympic Team Trials, and ultimately won a silver medal at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Zadick had a disappointing showing at the Olympic Team Trials, finishing seventh.
Rather than give up, Zadick decided to make some changes in his training situation the following year. He left his regular training situation in Iowa to move to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., to devote full time to his freestyle career. Zadick's results in 2005 were not spectacular, placing fourth at the U.S. Nationals and sixth at the World Team Trials. However, he kept with his plan, and worked hard for National Freestyle Coach Kevin Jackson and the new National Freestyle Resident Coach Terry Brands on a daily basis.
In 2006, Zadick showed considerable progress, placing second at the U.S. Nationals, losing only to rival Chris Bono in the championship finals. At the World Team Trials in Sioux City, Iowa, Zadick put it all together and made the U.S. team, this time beating young Jared Frayer in the championship series. Even better, his younger brother Mike made the U.S. team at 60 kg/132 lbs., making it a great year for the entire family.
At the age of 33, Zadick earned another chance at the World meet, five years after his previous attempt. All during training camps, the U.S. coaches praised Zadick for his preparation and effort.
Tushishvili, at 28 years old, may now be in the prime of his career. He made his first major appearance in 1999, with a bronze medal at the European Championships. In 2000, he was able to qualify his nation for the Olympics at his weight class, and at the Sydney Olympic Games he represented his nation, falling well short of the medal rounds.
Tushishvili paid his dues during the next Olympic cycle, competing at all three World Championships and placing in the top nine each year. His best finish came at the 2003 World Championships in New York City, when he placed fifth. That qualified him to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games, where he again fell short of the medal rounds.
Since then, Tushishvili has shown improved results. He won bronze medals at both the 2005 World Championships and 2005 Military World Championships. He developed a scrappy, active style, and was competitive in every match.
In the one-day tournament format, both Zadick and Tushishvili got on a roll in Guangzhou at the World Championships.
Zadick opened with a win over Elar Hani of Estonia, then had a key victory over World bronze medalist Geandry Garzon of Cuba 4-0, 1-4, 3-1 in the second round. The next round was a competitive 2-2, 2-0 win over Fred Jessy of Nigeria. Zadick rallied to beat Albert Batryov of Belarus 0-1, 1-0, 2-1 in the semifinals to earn his first shot at a World title.
Tushishvili also wrestled with skill, opening with wins over Onisim Talambat of Moldova and Shrar Oganesyian of Armenia. His quarterfinals win was against two-time World champion Serafim Barzakov of Bulgaria. In the semifinals, Tushishvili defeated Andriy Stadnik of Ukraine, who had upset 2005 World champion Makhach Murtazaliev in the previous round. Tushishvili had guaranteed himself another medal, and the best performance of his career.
In the gold medal finals, it was Tushishvili who won the first period, and Zadick who captured the second period. The final period was scoreless, and went to the leg clinch. A coin was flipped and it came up red, Zadick's color. Zadick grasped Tushishvili's leg and transferred it into a double to gain the takedown in 10 seconds for the win.
It was a great day for the Zadick family, as Bill's younger brother Mike had won a World silver medal the day before, and their parents and many relatives attended the meet to share in the joy.
This popular feature will be changed on a regular basis, allowing members to enjoy many of the greatest matches in wrestling history. Posted in the archive section of the Members Only web page was the Khadjimurad Gatsalov vs. Magomed Ibragimov gold medal match at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in men's freestyle at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Many other entertaining and historic matches are in the archive section for the Bout of the Week.