Download our Mobile App                  

  Search The Site
Top News Stories...
TheMat.com moving to USOC website platform with new look and functionality

This week, TheMat.com will move to the USOC platform, with a new look, new functionality, but with the same favorite features....

Terry Shockley named Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Shockley will succeed long-time chairman Jim Keen. Sr. as Chairman of the Board....

Iowa's Tony Ramos determined to finish career with NCAA title

The Hawkeye senior will battle Virginia Tech's Devin Carter in the NWCA All-Star Classic on Saturday....

NCAA announces finalist cities for its championships for 2014-18, including wrestling at all levels

Cleveland, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia & St. Louis are Div. I finalists. Div. II and III finalists also announced....



U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling Mini-Features



EVERYBODY'S A ROOKIE - All eight members of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team for Greco-Roman wrestling will be competing in their first Olympic Games. This does not mean they don't have major international experience. Six of the eight team members have competed at the Senior World Championships, everybody except Jim Gruenwald (58 kg/127.75 lbs.) and Garrett Lowney (97 kg/213.75 lbs.). BIG MAN WITH A PLAN - Super heavyweight has been the most successful weight division for the United States in Greco-Roman for this quadrennium (four year cycle). The only World medal won by the U.S. in the last three years was a silver by Matt Ghaffari in 1998. Rulon Gardner placed fifth in the 1997 Worlds and Dremiel Byers was sixth in the 1999 Worlds, and both were named USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year that season. In 2000, Gardner defeated Ghaffari for the first time in his career to make the U.S. team, winning both the U.S. Nationals and the Olympic Trials. It is his job to continue the strong U.S. performances at the highest weight class. YOUNG MAN WITH A PLAN - The youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman team is 20-year old Garrett Lowney at 97 kg/213.75 pounds. In 1999, Lowney won a gold medal at the Junior World Championships (for athletes 20 and younger) and decided to take his best shot at a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. He attends the Univ. of Minnesota, but after two years, has never competed a match for the Gophers. He took a red-shirt year as a freshman in 1998-99, then after winning the Junior Worlds, qualified for an Olympic red-shirt season in 1999-2000. The commitment paid off with a victory at the Olympic Team Trials. Ironically, this is the second straight Olympics that the Univ. of Minnesota has placed a wrestler on the Olympic team using an Olympic red-shirt; Brandon Paulson went that route in 1996 and claimed an Olympic silver. STUDENT OF A MASTER - Jim Gruenwald attended college at a little known Christian school in Wisconsin called Maranatha Baptist Bible College. One of the reasons was its wrestling coach, two-time Olympic freestyle medalist Ben Peterson, who won a gold in 1972 and a silver in 1976. Gruenwald is not the only Greco-Roman star tutored by Peterson in college. Mike Houck, the first U.S. Greco-Roman wrestler to win a World gold medal in 1985, also was coached by Peterson. At the Olympic Trials in Dallas, Peterson was able to get in Gruenwald's corner as a coach, and helped his college pupil to make the Olympic team at 58 kg/127.75 pounds. PAYING HIS DUES IN THE NAVY - The oldest member of the U.S. Greco-Roman team is Steven Mays, the 34-year old star at 54 kg/119 pounds. Mays serves in the U.S. Navy, and has been chasing his Olympic dream since the late 1980's. He is coached by Rob Hermann, the assistant coach on the 2000 U.S. Olympic team and the head coach of the 1996 Olympic team. Mays just missed making the U.S. team in 1996, losing to Olympian Brandon Paulson in the finals of the Olympic Team Trials. In the 2000 Trials, it was Mays who beat Paulson and earned a spot on the U.S. team. U.S. OLYMPIC TRAINING CENTER PRODUCTS - Most of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman team are either currently resident athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. or have been resident athletes in the past. Three members are current resident athletes: Jim Gruenwald (58 kg), Kevin Bracken (63 kg) and Rulon Gardner (130 kg). Two other athletes have been full-time USOTC resident athletes earlier in their careers: Heath Sims (69 kg) and Matt Lindland (76 kg). The other three team members have all spend considerable time in Colorado Springs in training camps and special training sessions. BEACH BOY DOES GOOD - The beach boy from California on the U.S. Greco-Roman team is Heath Sims of Huntington Beach, Calif., who lists surfing, mountain biking and sky diving as his hobbies. Sims attended Woodbridge High School near Irvine, and has been living and training in California most of his career (except for a stint as a resident athlete). After high school, Sims and his friend Dan Henderson delayed pursuing a college wrestling career, concentrating on the Greco-Roman style full time and training with coach Bob Anderson (Henderson did a season each at Cal-Fullerton and Arizona State, and Sims has recently attended Cerritos College). The strategy has paid off for the Greco-Roman specialists - Henderson competed on the 1992 and 1996 Olympic teams at 180.5 pounds, and Sims has made the 2000 Olympic team at 152 pounds. THE ROAD TO SUCCESS LEADS TO MINNESOTA - Sims is not the only Californian on the U.S. team. Quincey Clark, who attended Lincoln Prep High in San Diego, has travelled a long way from his home to become an Olympian at 187.25 pounds. Clark wrestled one year at San Diego State, and when the program was dropped, transferred to the Univ. of Oklahoma. He placed second in the NCAA Championships as a senior, losing in the finals to 1996 freestyle Olympian Les Gutches of Oregon State. In 1997, Clark made a big move to Minneapolis, Minn. to train under the legendary Dan Chandler. Minnesota has a long history of success in Greco-Roman, and by 1999, Clark was the No. 1 athlete in his weight class. Two members of the U.S. team train in Minnesota, Clark and Lowney, and they will be competing under their regular coach, Chandler, who is the head coach of the Olympic team. PAN AMERICAN MASTER - In the past two years, Matt Lindland has dominated the Pan American wrestling scene at 76 kg/167.5 pounds. In 1999, Lindland was one of two U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers to win a gold medal at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, beating 1996 Olympic champion Filiberto Azcuy of Cuba in the gold medal finals. In 2000, with a spot in the Olympic Games at stake, Lindland claimed the title at the Pan American Championships, beating 1993 World Champion Nestor Almanza of Cuba in the gold-medal finals. Lindland even boasts a Pan American gold in the other international style, winning the Pan Am Championships in freestyle in 1994. TIMING IS EVERYTHING - Kevin Bracken certainly picked the right year to have his best season in international wrestling. Bracken competed at the 1998 World Championships when top-ranked Shon Lewis was unable to compete due to military obligations. However, this is the first season in which Bracken was able to win both the U.S. Nationals title and the Team Trials and earn the No. 1 ranking in the nation. Bracken attended Illinois State Univ., and began his Olympic quest as a resident athlete at the USOTC in Colorado. He left the program, going back to Illinois for a coaching stint at Northern Illinois Univ., but decided to return to the USOTC program for the final two years of his Olympic quest. DOT COM - At least three members of the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman team have their own internet web pages - Kevin Bracken, Matt Lindland and Rulon Gardner. The athletes use the pages to raise funds for their Olympic quest, while also telling their side of the story regarding their wrestling careers. GRECO-ROMAN WRESTLING TEAM NOTES The U.S. qualified a full eight-man team for the Greco-Roman competition, one of only three nations to qualify a full contingent of Greco-Roman athletes (Russia, Ukraine, USA). Rulon Gardner grew up on a dairy farm in Afton, Wyo. Jim Gruenwald is a math teacher at Hilltop Baptist High School. Kevin Bracken, a Chicago native, once dated television star Jenny McCarthy. Rulon Gardner and Matt Lindland were teammates and captains of the 1993 Univ. of Nebraska wrestling team, one of the best in the school's history. Steven Mays has worked over 15 years in the U.S. Navy. Kevin Bracken had to win three matches to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team, rather than the two victories needed for everybody else in the Olympic Trials. His first match in the Trials finals in Dallas against Glenn Nieradka of the Army was protested, and the protest committee threw out the result, forcing a re-wrestle. Bracken won the re-wrestled match, for his first official victory, then won the next match for a two-match sweep (even though he actually won three
Untitled Document
   
© Copyright 2000-2014 USA Wrestling, All rights reserved.
Contents of this site may not used without the expressed written consent of USA Wrestling.