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Slay receives Olympic gold medal on NBC News' "Today" in New York City



Brandon Slay (Amarillo, Texas/Dave Schultz WC) received the Olympic gold medal for the 76 kg/167.5 pound weight class in freestyle wrestling, as part of NBC News' "Today" on Wednesday, November 15.

A complete Olympic medal ceremony was conducted on an official podium, which was set up in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, outside Today's famed Studio 1A.

Also receiving Olympic medals were silver medalist Moon Eui-Jae of Korea and bronze medalist Adem Bereket of Turkey.

IOC first vice president Anita DeFrantz presented the athletes with their medals. Two-time Olympic wrestling gold medalist Bruce Baumgartner, who is also USA Wrestling's president, presented the athletes with their flowers.

The U.S. national athem was played, and the national flags of the United States, Korea and Turkey were raised, with downtown New York City as the backdrop.

Today co-host Matt Lauer was the public address announcer for the ceremony, and Today weatherman Al Roker also participated in the ceremony. Lauer interviewed Slay prior to the medal ceremony, and Slay also was also interviewed on the Today show set after the presentation.

"It feels wonderful," said Slay, in his interview with Lauer after the ceremony. "I want to thank God for all the blessings he has given us. I'd like to dedicate this gold medal to Dave Schultz, who sparked my Olympic dream. This is in his honor."

Slay became the Olympic gold medalist on October 23, when the International Olympic Committee announced that Alexander Leipold of Germany had been stripped of his gold medal due to a positive drug test. Slay was awarded a silver medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia on September 30, after losing in the championship match to Leipold, 4-0.

The awards ceremony was organized through a cooperative effort between the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Wrestling and the NBC network.

"At first, it was relief, then I had piece of mind knowing my ultimate athletic dream had been accomplished," said Slay in the pre-ceremony interview with Lauer.

"This medal is not tainted at all. I think it has opened up a wonderful forum for children to learn that if you break the law and you take drugs, that not only can lose your life, but you can lose your lifelong dream."

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