Matt Lindland (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids) defeated Keith Sieracki (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), 8-0, in a re-wrestled match, and earned a position at 76 kg/167.5 pounds on the U.S. Olympic Team for Greco-Roman wrestling.
The match was held in OTC Gym #9 of Sports Center II on the U.S. Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs, Colo., Monday, August 14 at 10:00 a.m.
This match was held due to the decision by arbitrator Daniel T. Burns on August 9, 2000 to re-wrestle Bout #244, the third and deciding match for the 76 kg/167.5-pound position on the U.S. Olympic Team for Greco-Roman wrestling.
Lindland scored the first point of the match on a reversal in the first period, stopping a Sieracki gut wrench attempt and coming out on top. He scored three straight moves for exposure, including a pair of two-point gutwrenches and a three-point lift and throw to lead 8-0 at the mid-break. There was no scoring in the second period, and Lindland won the match, 8-0.
"I wrestled fine," said Lindland. "In the beginning, I felt sluggish. Once I was called for passivity, I decided to wrestle better. I felt he shut down after I scored the first two points. He came out ready, but after I scored, he died off."
"It's like I didn't have anything out there," said Sieracki. "I couldn't get it going."
Lindland placed sixth in the 1998 World Championships, and also competed in the 1997 and 1999 World Championships. He was a 1999 Pan American Games champion. Lindland is a four-time U.S. Nationals champion (1995, 1998, 1999, 2000) and has placed second in the U.S. Nationals twice. He placed third in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. He was a 1996 World Cup champion. Lindland competed for the Univ. of Nebraska, and was also a Junior College national champion for Clackamas CC. He is originally from Gladstone, Ore.
Sieracki was a 1996 U.S. Nationals champion, and placed second in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. He was second in the 1999 and 2000 U.S. Nationals. Sieracki has won three Armed Forces Greco-Roman titles (1993, 1995 and 1999). He has won gold medals at the 1998 Concord Cup and the 1995 Sunkist Kids International Open. Sieracki was the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival champion. He is originally from Richland Center, Wis.
Sieracki had defeated Lindland in the championship finals series at 76 kg/167.5 pounds at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling in Dallas, Texas, June 24, 2000, two matches to one. Sieracki won the first match, 7-3 and Lindland won the second match, 4-0. In the deciding third match, Sieracki won a 2-1 overtime referee's decision.
In Dallas, Lindland protested the third and final match, which was awarded to Sieracki. The Protest Committee for the Olympic Team Trials upheld the decision, giving the victory to Sieracki.
Lindland, pursuant to USA Wrestling rules, appealed the Protest Committee's decision to USA Wrestling's Greco-Roman Sport Committee. That body agreed with the Protest Committee's decision on July 19, 2000, denying Lindland's appeal. Lindland sought arbitration of his claim, and in a July 27, 2000 preliminary hearing, Lindland and USA Wrestling agreed to the arbitration.
Based upon the decision of the arbitrator, the championship series between Lindland and Sieracki was tied at one match each, with the deciding third bout to be re-wrestled today.
WRESTLE-OFF FOR U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM FOR GRECO-ROMAN WRESTLING at Colorado Springs, Colo., August 14, 2000
* This is a re-wrestled third match from the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials
76 kg/167.5 lbs. - Matt Lindland, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Keith Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 8-0
Lindland wins series, 2 matches to 1, and earns position on U.S. Olympic Team.
Quotes from the athletes and coaches
Matt Lindland, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids)
"I wrestled fine. In the beginning, I felt sluggish. Once I was called for passivity, I decided to wrestle better. I came out here on my own the day I found out. I had 52 hours to make weight, and had to drop seven kilograms."
"I felt he shut down after I scored the first two points. He came out ready, but after I scored, he died off."
"It was a long grueling process. I knew I was right from the time I stepped off the mat in Dallas. I knew I didn't lose that match. It took a lot of battling to convince people I was right. I got a lot of help, including my attorneys and others. I don't think USA Wrestling wanted it overturned that badly. I had to convince people I was right. I knew it all along. I wouldn't have put so much time and effort into it if I didn't know I was right."
"I feel this should be over now. 8-0 is convincing. I sure hope its over."
"I've always believed this year will be my year. I've improved from last year to this year. I've gotten better. I think I proved myself this year at the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments and the Pan Ams. I'm there with the best of the world."
Keith Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
"I went to Russia last week to compete. Everyone at USA Wrestling said don't think about (the arbitration). Nothing will come of it. I found out Thursday that I had to re-wrestle today. I couldn't get my head together. I was worried about a lot of people back in Wisconsin."
"It's like I didn't have anything out there. I couldn't get it going."
"We're going to the lawyers with this. There's still a good percentage that I'm going to the Olympics. After all of this is over, I may never wrestle again. Somebody took my dream and ruined it."
Mark Cody, one of Lindland's coaches
"We are really happy with the outcome. Matt has been through a lot and worked hard on the arbitration. Sieracki has been through a lot, and I want to acknowledge what he has been through. Matt never stopped working out. Two days after the Trials, Matt was working out again. He put his nose to the grindstone and it showed here. He's wrestling better now at practice than he has during the last two years.
Shon Lewis, one of Sieracki's coaches
"Keith Sieracki did everything all the other Olympians have done. He had a parade back home, and has been raising money so his parents could attend the Olympics. He just got back from Russia four days ago. There were two protests and Sieracki won both of them. This is not right."