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Lindland undecided on World Team Trials weight class



View video clip of Lindland Matt Lindland's story to make the Olympic team last summer was a drama in itself. The struggle for the 76 kg spot on the United States Olympic Team for Greco-Roman Wrestling wound its way all the way to the Supreme Court. Eventually, Lindland wrestled control of the Olympic spot away from Keith Sieracki of the Army-not on the mat but in the courts. With the stakes that high, it's obvious that the pain of the battle for an Olympic dream is still evident. A year removed from the Olympics, Keith Sieracki and Matt Lindland's names may be forever entangled with the summer long battle of 2000 for the chance to pursue Olympic glory. Is a grudge match brewing for the World Team Trials this summer? The obvious answer is that last summer's events are wrestling history. Especially now that the two wrestlers who endured the long summer of 2000 have earned national titles at different weight classes. Keith Sieracki dominated his weight class and won the 76 kg title. Matt Lindland decided to move up to 85 kg. However, Matt Lindland has left the door open to the possibility that he might vacate his #1 seed at 85 kg in favor of making a return to the 76 kg weight class, which he won the Olympic Silver medal at in Sydney. When asked who he expected to wrestle in the best two out of three series at the Trials in Cincinnati, Lindland flatly replied, "that all depends on what weight class I'll be at for the Trials." Lindland went on to say that the door is definitely open for him to move down to 76 kg for the upcoming World Team Trials. A move such as this would be nearly unprecedented. Lindland, as the champion at 85 kg, receives the privilege of watching the Challenge Tournament to see who is opponent would be for the best of three Championship Series on the last day of the Trials. Moving down to 76 kg, Lindland would face a much tougher road to garner the World Team slot. First, Lindland would have to cut the weight from 85 kg back down to 76 kg. Last year, in order to qualify the 76 kg weight class for the Olympics Lindland had to make weight seven times at various tournaments around the world. He's no stranger to weight cutting. Once Lindland dropped the weight to make 76 kg he no longer would receive the protected-status of being the wrestler watching the Challenge Tournament. Instead he would enter 76 kg as a seeded challenger, battling for a chance to take on the familiar opponent, Keith Sieracki, who earned the right to relax during the Challenge Tournament. Of course a waltz through the challenge tournament is not a sure thing, especially after a weight cut. "Once Matt recovers from the cut he will be huge for 76 kg. The question is, who would he have to face on the first day of the Challenge Tournament" said Dan Chandler, Olympic Coach from 2000. "He cut his weight perfect in Sydney and he won a very difficult pool to advance. Matt will have to decide, how badly does he want to do this in 2001." One thing is clear, Lindland could have chosen to be satisfied with the silver medal he earned in Sydney. When asked why he keeps going Lindland says, "I guess it is the fact that I just want to win a title." The door is open and Lindland's choice of which weight he will wrestle at in Cincinnati is the question that doesn't have a real answer at this time. The World Team's makeup will obviously be affected by Lindland's decision. His goal of attaining a World title is certain; his method of obtaining it is a little murky. Lindland certainly has a plan at this point but he's keeping his choice between 76 kg and 85 kg a guarded secret. With Lindland's goal clear, the question is what is going to make Matt Lindland a champion in New York this September? Lindland's simply replies, "I've got till September to figure that out." However, weigh-ins for the Trials close at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21st in Cincinnati.
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