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Quotes from the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team at its press conference in Sydney, Australia



U.S GRECO-ROMAN WRESTLING PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES, SEPTEMBER 17, 2000 MAIN PRESS CENTER, HOMEBUSH BAY, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA PARTICIPANTS - Head Coach Dan Chandler, National Coach Steve Fraser, Kevin Bracken, Quincey Clark, Rulon Gardner, James Gruenwald, Matt Lindland, Garrett Lowney, Steven Mays, Heath Sims Dan Chandler, Head Coach "Among our advice to the athletes was to come in early and enjoy the spirit of the Games. We wanted to expose them to the atmosphere and let them enjoy it, then get back to our focus. We have also asked them to be more disciplined in their training." Steve Fraser, National Greco-Roman Coach "Every one of these athletes can win a medal. It will take scratching, clawing and fighting to get it done. There are no slouches here. With the qualification in order to compete in the Olympics now, each weight will have 20 tough wrestlers. We'll have to be very tough in order to win medals, but we can do it." Kevin Bracken (63 kg/138.75 lbs.) "I have been watching videos. I know what my opponent's strengths are, so now I am looking at the videos and trying to pick apart their weaknesses. It is a relief to finally get to the Olympic village and relax. I think the biggest thing now is to stay relax and get some great workouts in. I am excited to be here and ready to win." "I spent the last few years having to beat the people in the United States to get here. That process helped me to grow as an athlete. I had to work hard to make the team, and do what it took to win. It makes it that much easier to prepare for the international wrestlers." Quincey Clark (85 kg/187.25 lbs.) "Two years ago I worked more on endurance, and then last year I worked more on technique. This year I am working on both. I think I am in incredible shape, the best shape I have ever been in. I actually had an injury. I had a rib broken and some loose cartilige. It's fine now, It's strong. I have no problems. I think the time off was actually good for me." (about his 1999 victory over reigning Olympic champion Hamza Yerlikaya of Turkey) "That match gave me confidence. In fact, he broke a rib of mine on the other side. That gave me confidence because I was able to compete after doing that. In our trip to Russia, I did well in practice against the No. 1 Russian. I am going to do well. I have the confidence to do the best of my ability." Rulon Gardner (130 kg/286 lbs.) "I wrestle a different match than people from other countries. I go out and wear down my opponent and then that is where I can use my technique. I work on getting my opponent tired, bury them, and then take the match. I am not here for second place and I am not here on vacation. I want to go out, win a medal, and do my best to obtain the goals that I have set for myself." "I have beaten the No. 2, No. 4 and No. 6 wrestlers in the world at my weight class. With me being new at the Olympics, nobody will overlook me. When a guy draws me in his pool, he will not be excited. It's a question of conditioning with me." James Gruenwald (58 kg/127.75 lbs.) "I think any time you have the opportunity to beat a world champion, the next step is to win an Olympic gold medal. I have been knocking on Dennis Hall's door for 12 years, if you count high school, or four years if you count serious international competition." "I have been relaxed. I am training the same way I did for the trials. Before I started, I prayed for wisdom, and I got some rest. Earlier in the year my coaches told me to get more rest, that I was over training and burning myself out. I took it to heart, it proved to be the right thing to do." Matt Lindland (76 kg/167.5 lbs.) "I'm excited, I think my chances are equal if not better than other guys in the weight. I haven't done it yet. It's a solid weight, but nobody is ahead of anybody else. They have been trading it off in recent years. Lately, I have been beating a lot of them. I am looking to put it all together and beat everyone in one tournament. I like to put myself under pressure. If there is something worth going for, that's pressure enough. My prediction is that I will win the gold." (about his legal challenges to get on the team) "I can't put two months of things into a two minute answer. What I went through has made me stronger. I learned a lot. Going through that can tear you down, or can make you stronger. I decided that I was going to make myself stronger. I wasn't happy about it. I felt that I was right all along." (on whether he has a problem competing for the USOC) "I'm wrestling for the United States. I'm looking forward to representing my country and wearing the red, white and blue. The answer is no, I don't have a problem with that." Garrett Lowney (97 kg/213.75 lbs.) "My coaches first came up and told me about this opportunity a year and a half ago. I said 'Yeah, right. I'm 19 years old and there is no way I am at that level.' My coaches just kept working with me and I kept improving everyday. Then, when I won the Junior Worlds that is where I decided that I could compete at the Olympic level. Dan Chandler and my university coaches have helped me. I'm three times the wrestler I was at the Olympic Trials. I'm learning more everyday. Being young and being new is an advantage. They don't know me. My opponents here haven't seen me wrestle and they don't know my style." "After going to Russia, I believe I am right there. I do see me going for a medal. I got to wrestle with the five-time World champion from Russia. I was smarter about my abilities after the trials and after that trip. I am a believer that I can do it, that I can win a medal." Steven Mays (54 kg/119 lbs.) "It's an honor that they selected me to be the team captain. They saw something in me that might help them to reach their goals. I've worked long and hard. I've run the good race. I've also been in the Navy for 15 years. That's my job, to serve my nation. Wrestling is one of my duties. I'm taking a little break from my job to be here and to do the job for the nation with my wrestling. The Navy has allowed me to concentrate on my wrestling. My other duties are secondary. When this job is over, however, I will return to my other job." (about beating Olympic medalist Brandon Paulson in the Trials) "In 1996, he had his game going. This year, I had my game going. It's a style matchup thing. My style is tough on him. It's the same with the wrestlers at this tournament. If they can't handle my style, I'll do the job." Heath Sims (69 kg/152 lbs.) "I took a lot of pressure off myself this year. I came off a major injury. My family and my opponents, they might have under estimated me a bit. They figured I was giving it one last hurrah. The time off helped me and I was fresh and sharp this year." (about doing Greco-Roman after high school instead of college wrestling) "I had some great experiences with my club, the California Jets, when I was younger. I was able to compete and train overseas, and go to places like Russia, Norway, Bulgaria and other countries. I had some early success and great coaches, like Bob Anderson and Gogi Parseghian. I'm taking college classes now. I'm on the 12 year plan. Eventually, I'll get my degree. I'm getting full financial aid right now for my classes. And I'm wrestling the style that I enjoy, without having to go through the grind of the college season."
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