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Wrestling with success – Popularity of the sport is once again on the upswing in Timmins Ontario

October 10th, 2010 by Tom

timmins-wrestling Timmins Wrestling kicked off the start of its 2010-11 season Monday night with a training session at École secondaire catholique Thériault.

Neil Bangs, one of the coaches of the club, said they usually get about 30 to 40 athletes " ranging from 12 to 18 years old " out at the start of the season.

"This year we did a little bit more promoting, so we are hoping to get a little bit more than that, "he said. "We are hoping to get around the 50 mark.

"The ones we are getting out are kids that range from Grade 6 right up to Grade 12, so there is a wide range of ages."

During the course of the year the wrestlers work out four times a week.

"Because of the limitless amount of moves that can be delivered in wrestling, what happens is a lot of it is based on technique, "Bang said.

"So for the first three or four months we train them to try and get the moves down and then after that as the season goes along it becomes more conditioning and fine tuning their moves.

"A wrestler is developed over three, or four, or five years, so it is a stepping stone for them to hopefully go into a university program and maybe even compete for Canada one day."

In addition to technique, strength is another important component for wrestling.

"Because of the different body types, and different sizes and different genders, I have seen some people who have a lot of upper body strength be successful in wrestling, "Bangs said.

"And I have seen people whose lower body is extremely strong and they are able to lift and get their back into it and get people off the ground. So really it is a combination of everything.

"What we try and train is the total body, to make sure they develop everywhere, so it gives them an advantage of being able to pick and choose their style of wrestling " if they are going to be a shooter or if they are going to be a grinder, or a thrower."

Wrestling is pretty much a year round sport, with athletes beginning to train in mid-September and the summer season wrapping up in early September.

The first tournament for the Timmins Wrestling athletes will be the first weekend in November in Sudbury.

It will be a good warmup for a local tournament " the North Eastern Ontario Athletic Association championships " at Thériault on Dec. 11.

"We are expecting teams from Sudbury, the Soo, Elliot Lake, Sturgeon Falls and even a team from Thunder Bay, "Bangs said.

"We will have four mats set up and they will be running all day."

The coach said there is a close link between the club system and the high school system.

"Because the coaches are pretty much the same coaches for the high school program as the club program, it's kind of like one group all together, "Bangs said.

"So what happens is they don't do extra training, the just pretty much follow the same practice schedule. It's just to help the sport out in the city of Timmins."

In terms of high school wrestlers, so far the club only has athletes from Thériault and O'Gorman High School.

"What we are trying to do is promote the club within the other high schools and hopefully we will be able to pick up a few athletes here and there, "Bangs said.

"And hopefully it will generate a need in the schools to maybe start up a program. It would be nice to see about 20 kids from O'Gorman, 20 kids from TH&VS and 20 kids from RMSS."

The coach said they are at the beginner stage of trying to promote the sport within the city.

"The club program in Ontario and the high school program in Ontario are very closely linked because of the limited amount of athletes who wrestle, "Bangs said.

"There are enough wrestlers who wrestle in Ontario but you can't really generate a club program like hockey does and a high school program like hockey does.

"It is kind of linked a lot. Even for us, our provincial championships, if you win a provincial championship it gives you a ranking for OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations).

"The OAWA, which is the Ontario Amateur Wrestling Association, kind of caters to the high school level because there is a big pool of athletes at the high school level that they are hoping to be able to continue later on in university and then after that develop into world-class athletes."

Timmins Wrestling isn't just concerned about developing high school athletes, however.

Bangs pointed out that in Ottawa, for example, they have 800 wrestlers at the bantam level " 12 and 13 year olds.

"A lot of the tournaments cater to them also, so you will have a high school tournament being run on one side of the gym and you will have all the bantam wrestlers on the other side at the same time, "he said.

"Most of the tournaments we go to you have both of them " the high school athletes and the bantam athletes."

When Bangs wrestled at the high school level there were a handful of programs throughout the North, but they pretty well died out between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s.

"When I started we had like five or six athletes and now we are up to like 30 or 40 and you have girls and boys, "he said.

"Just recently we sent another one of our athletes off to university, he was a provincial champion, an OFSAA champion and a national champion."

That kind of success, combined with the exploits of Canadian wrestlers at the Olympics and the World Championships, is bound to boost the popularity of the sport.

While the WWE, and other television franchises, might have the word wrestling in their name, there is little comparison between their theatrics and the actual sport that awards medals " not belts " at the Olympics.

"What you see on TV is pretty much a show, it's orchestrated and choreographed, but what you see here is not at all, "Bangs said, in explaining the major difference between the two versions of the sport.

"It's a sport that is very similar to judo, in a sense, where you have a lot of holds and a lot of take downs. You are trying to expose your opponent or control your opponent more than anything else."

An unlike professional "wrestling "where you have to be 6-6 and 350 pounds, true wrestling is a sport that can be enjoyed by anybody.

"Pretty much any body type and any gender can wrestle, "Bangs said.

"So if you are a 110 pound boy, or a 150 pound girl, there is a category for you. You don't wrestle any higher than within 10 pounds of your own weight. Athletes compete against their own age level and their own skill level.

There are many styles of wrestling, as well, within the amateur version of the sport.

"There's grappling, there's freestyle, which we do, there's Greco-Roman " which is pretty much not attacking anything except the upper body " there's all kinds, "Bangs said.

"In Canada it seems to be freestyle that is the most popular and pretty much all tournaments are geared toward that, but you do see a rise in grappling because of the whole UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) thing."

Timmins Wrestling will be holding a meet and greet session for parents on Monday, Sept. 27, at Thériault, from 6:30-7 p.m.

The organization also has a website " www.timminswrestling.com " to provide more information on the sport.

By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press

Adam Frey is grappling with his toughest foe, and holding his own

September 20th, 2009 by Tom

Adam Frey, the 2005 national junior Greco-Roman champion and the 2007 Ivy League wrestling rookie of the year, is wearing a long-sleeved sweatshirt and ski cap, standard garb for the weight-cutting jock. Indeed, for much of his young life 23-year-old Adam has spent the off-season shedding avoirdupois to one degree or another. But these days calories are the last things he wants to lose. He is bundled up because he feels cold, even though it's summer in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

That's no more unpleasant, though, than when he finds himself sweating profusely, which happens often during the night. "Some mornings after he gets out of bed, "says his mother, Cindy Frey, "I just wring his sheets out. "Adam, who now carries about 140 pounds on his 5'6'' frame, has lost as much as eight pounds as he tosses and turns, and sometimes he just gets up and sleeps somewhere else.

He has mouth sores. His fingertips are extremely sensitive to hot and cold. Often he feels disoriented, "not myself. "Sometimes he has an intense desire to eat, but, when food is placed in front of him, he gets nauseous. Egg whites are about the only comestible that he can truly depend on. He has lost hair on his head and face. He despises the button-sized mediport that protrudes from the right side of his chest -- "I used to find every excuse in the world to take my shirt off, "Adam says -- but the worst part is what people can't see: The mediport has a long tube that goes over his collarbone into his jugular vein.

Yes, Adam's twin set of cauliflower ears, the wrestlers' gladiatorial badge, don't seem like much of a problem these days, not while he's fighting a multiple-front battle with germ cell testicular cancer, taking it on with a brutal regimen of chemotherapy, one kind of poison trying to beat back another.

The war within him has been going on for about a year-and-a-half now, and, through it all, Adam has remained fist-shakingly, defiantly positive. "I'm going to beat this thing, "he says. "The odds are long. But I'm going to beat it."

On March 25, 2008, a few days after his sophomore wrestling season at Cornell had ended with a loss in the NCAA championships, Adam walked away from a bad car accident in Ithaca only to discover, after the routine CAT scan, that his body was racked with cancer. Lesions were found on his lung and liver and in the lymph nodes of his abdomen, along with a bowling-ball-sized tumor between his kidneys. He had never smoked, chewed tobacco or done street drugs. "My body was what I depended on, "he says. He was declared to be at Stage 3 -- inoperable and radiation-resistant. "All things considered, "says Adam, "the prognosis couldn't have been much bleaker."

Sixteen months later, Adam is still here, his life an endless cycle of hospital visits, chemo treatments, cancer counts, injections and medical consultations. "I know way more than I ever wanted to know about cancer, "says Adam. It goes without saying that someone this young should not have to endure such agony, but an older someone shouldn't have to, either.

Adam will admit to some why-me? moments along the way. But they don't last long. "He's hard-wired to compete, "says his father, Jerry. "He doesn't know how to do anything except all-out. "Adam has started the Adam Frey Foundation to raise money for cancer research -- the Adam Frey Classic held in July at Rider College raised about $15,000, and he hopes it will be an annual event. He reaches thousands of readers on his blog (adamfrey.us), on which he rarely sugar-coats the agony of his treatment but also manages to find some humor, as when he wrote of the day that he had to provide a sperm specimen at a women's hospital. "So there I was, the only male patient in a woman's hospital, "wrote Adam. "You might as well put a sign on my head saying, 'Only here to masturbate.'"

Each entry brings hundreds of heartfelt responses. "He has touched many of us in ways that being an NCAA champion or multiple time AA [All-American] never could, "wrote one reader. "... Everyone who reads it will be moved by his journey."

With his cancer counts in check of late, Adam has begun working out again, though muscle pain and the necessity of taking it easy have hardly made the experience pleasurable. "I'm an all-or-nothing person, "he says, "so if I go into the gym, next thing you know, 225 pounds is on the bar. I have to watch that."

He talks of returning to Cornell for the spring semester of 2010, and, at times, has even contemplated a comeback to the mat, where he virtually lived from the age of six. He knows it might be a pipe dream, but, well, look at the odds he's already defied. "I'm supposed to be dead, "says Adam. "In fact, I was dead. "In October of 2008 he was suffering from full-body staph infection, his temperature at 107.9, most of his vital organs shut down. But back he came, and he hasn't come that close to death again.

* * *

Germ cell testicular cancer accounts for only about one percent of all cancer in men, but it is by far the most common type for men between 15 and 35. It is quite curable, but what made Adam's cancer so problematic was the degree to which it had spread by the time it was detected. In all likelihood, his near-imperviousness to pain kept him from recognizing symptoms. "Hey, when you wrestle, "says Adam, "something always hurts."

From the beginning of his diagnosis, Adam wanted to attack his cancer aggressively, "to go down swinging if I was going down. "He is now on his fifth different kind of regimen; three of them have been experimental, either in the prodigious doses of chemo he was given or the combination of drugs that were used. "Whatever happens with Adam, he has been immensely helpful to other patients, "says Dr. Leonard Appleman, an oncologist who supervises Adam's treatment at the Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh.

Anyone who knows Adam isn't surprised that he's handling the treatment well. "What we can say for sure is that he tolerated high doses of chemo very well because of how fit and in shape he is, "says Dr. Darren Feldman, an oncologist who specializes in testicular cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City, where Adam has also undergone treatment. (Feldman and Appleman are in constant communication about Adam, a team approach to treatment that is becoming increasingly common.) "And as an athlete Adam has more control over his body than the normal person and more discipline. That makes him adherent to medical recommendations. He's always told himself, 'I can do this. I can do this.' So he goes out and does it."

Adam could feel something coming long before the diagnosis. Entering Cornell in the fall of 2005 after an outstanding scholastic career at Blair (N.J.) Academy -- he was the nation's No. 1 recruit at 130 pounds -- Adam red-shirted because of a shoulder injury. He got off to an excellent start in his first competitive season in 2006, beating three ranked wrestlers in the 133-pound class. He finished 2006-07 with a 16-4 record and was named the Ivy League's top rookie. His goal as a sophomore was an NCAA championship.

But the '07-08 season was a struggle from the beginning. No matter how hard he trained -- and few trained harder than Adam -- he had trouble cutting weight. "Why do you have a gut? "his teammates and friends would tease him. "Hearing that was hard, "says Adam with a smile. "I always liked the way I looked in a singlet."

It was the tumor growing. "We knew something was wrong, "says his mother, "but nobody could find anything. "He still won more than he lost (15-9) and qualified for the NCAAs, where he didn't place but went 2-2. But he didn't look right and he didn't feel right.

Then came the morning when he climbed into his SUV and decided to stop at McDonald's on his way to class. On a wind-blown road in Ithaca, he suddenly saw another vehicle coming toward him, veered right hard to avoid it, fishtailed and hit a tree at about 55 mph.

"It was terrible, but in a way it was the luckiest day of my life, "says Adam. "If I hadn't gotten the CAT scan that day, I would be dead for sure."

Adam doesn't talk much about the specter of death. Nobody in his family does. The Freys -- mother, father, brother Garrett, also an outstanding scholastic wrestler who will compete for Princeton this winter as a freshman -- are more attack-first-contemplate-later type of people. A hotel wrestling match between Adam and his father a few years ago, for example, resulted in a broken ankle for Jerry. "Adam had me in a headlock, and I had to post my foot against the wall so I wouldn't break the TV, "explains Jerry. Cindy was also an early partner for both sons. "They've broken my fingers and my nose, "says Cindy. "I have a spur on my neck and they dislocated my shoulder. "She shrugs. "I think that's everything anyway."

Mother and father, apart or together, have seen virtually every match in which either son has ever wrestled, no mean feat since the boys often competed on the same days hundreds of miles apart. The parents' beloved blue Cadillac had 249,000 miles on it -- "mostly wrestling miles, "says Jerry -- before it finally gave out.

His family feels his pain -- that's evident when Cindy closes her eyes and determinedly squeezes back tears during dinner -- but wrestling has long been the family glue, the Frey fuel, and it's hard for any of them to imagine that, for Adam, it might be gone. Adam, in fact, is the most realistic about his chances of ever again putting on a singlet. "I'm at the point now where if I don't step on a mat, that's fine, "he says. "Maybe God's plan was for me to use wrestling for another message, a message away from the mat."

Adam's immediate plans are simple: Keep fighting the cancer at Hillman, buffered with occasional visits to Sloan-Kettering. If a new treatment shows any ray of hope, he will raise his hand. Keep working out when he feels up to it. Keep blogging. Keep plugging along. Keep getting by day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month. Keep sucking up the agony. His long-range goals are on hold but not forgotten. He used to talk about wanting to be President, but he's now revised that downward ever so slightly. "A friend suggested that I run for the House one day, "he says. "Hey, I have the charisma. I love to debate. And now I have a back story. Obviously, we'll have to see where I'm at health-wise, but it's not out of the question."

Medical reality is not Adam's friend. But he can count on the optimism of youth, an indomitable will, and the memory of a thousand battles won on the mat. "I know my life might be shorter than I once thought it would be, "Adam says. "I know I probably won't get the chance to do some things I wanted to do. But I've never sat down and accepted the fact that I was going to die. And I never will."

via SI

Dennis Hall to Coach USOEC Program at Northern Michigan

August 31st, 2009 by Tom

Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Dennis Hall of Stevens Points, Wis. has been named the head coach for USA Wrestling's Greco-Roman program at the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University.

Hall was one of the greatest Greco-Roman wrestlers in U.S. history, with three career Olympic and World medals. He was a 1995 World champion, only the second American at that time to win a Greco-Roman World title. Hall captured a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., and won a World bronze medal in 1994.

"Dennis Hall brought to the mat a fierce competitive spirit, "said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. "We are confident he will bring that same spirit to our program at Northern Michigan University, as we strive to continue as one of the most powerful Greco-Roman programs in the world."

Hall competed on three U.S. Olympic teams in Greco-Roman. In addition to the silver medal he won in 1996, Hall was eighth in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain and also competed in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

"What Dennis brings to our team is a tremendous passion for Greco-Roman wrestling, "said National Greco-Roman Coach Steve Fraser. "He brings vast experience as a World champion, Olympic silver medalist and World bronze medalist. Some may argue that he is the most decorated Greco-Roman wrestler in our history. He is a great example of what hard work and dedication is all about. I expect him to be a great leader for the young men in the USOEC program at Northern Michigan University."

He qualified for his first U.S. World Team in 1990 at the age of 19 and made a total of 10 U.S. World or Olympic teams. Hall also won the Pan American Games in 1995 and 1999.

Hall was a U.S. Nationals champion for 10 straight years (1992-2001), an amazing streak of consistency. Hall was also second in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and qualified for the U.S. Greco-Roman national team 15 times.

He becomes the third coach in the history of the USOEC Greco-Roman team since its inception, following Gordy Morgan and Ivan Ivanov as head coaches for the program. The USOEC program has produced numerous champion athletes for the United States on both the age-group and Senior levels.

"My goal for this job is to get guys really excited about Greco-Roman wrestling, and to teach them to beat the best wrestlers in the world by working hard, "said Hall. "I believe we can attain that goal. I seek to produce athletes who can win medals at the University and Junior World Championships and guys who can make U.S. Senior-level World Teams."

Hall is originally from Hartford, Wis., where he won three state high school titles and was a three-time Junior Nationals Greco-Roman champion. He attended the Univ. of Wisconsin for one year, then decided to focus full-time on his Greco-Roman career.

Since 2000, Hall has owned World Gold Wrestling, LLC, which provides young athletes with quality coaching through wrestling camps and clubs. Among the young wrestlers he has mentored are Ben Provisor and Jesse Thielke, who were U.S. Junior Greco-Roman World Team members and have won numerous age-group national titles. He has also organized the Dennis Hall Summer Team Duals event each year.

He was also an assistant wrestling coach for the Univ. of Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 2001-2003. During his time there, the team finished third in the Div. III National Championships. For the last two years, he has been the head wrestling coach at Stevens Point High School, where he has produced state placewinners and qualifiers.

Hall and his wife Chrissy have four children: Tyler (13), Brandon (7), Jake (3) and Alyssa (2).

"It is huge to get guys who want to be Greco-Roman wrestlers full-time out of high school, "said Hall. "We will be able to win World medals at a younger age because of this program. Coaching Greco-Roman full-time and coaching at this level is exciting to me. I will have a hand in getting athletes to Northern Michigan University who have the ability to become future World and Olympic champions."

The assistant Greco-Roman coach position at the U.S. Olympic Education Center remains open. An announcement on the individual hired for that position is expected in the near future.

Incoming Purdue Freshman Wins USA Jr Greco Title

July 27th, 2009 by WrestlingPod

FARGO, N.D. "Incoming Purdue wrestling freshman Kendrick Sanders won the U.S.A. Wrestling Junior Greco-Roman National Championship at 152 pounds on Tuesday in Fargo, N.D. The national title was the second for the Florida native, who joins the Boilermakers this fall.

Sanders posted a flawless 9-0 record over the four-day tournament, surrendering only two points throughout the week. He notched a pair of falls and three technical falls en route to the title, beating out some of the nation's top high school talent along the way. He closed out the tournament in grand fashion, blanking Kalvin York of Wisconsin by technical fall, 6-0, 6-0, and earning most outstanding wrestler of the championship honors.

He was tabbed the No. 55 recruit in the nation and the No. 7 wrestler in the country at 145 pounds in 2009 by InterMat Wrestling, helping the Boilermakers' to the No. 12 recruiting class in the nation this year. Sanders was a three-time Florida State Champion at South Dade High School near Miami, Fla., and competed in the prestigious Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic in March and was named an Asics All-America honorable mention in 2009. Sanders won his first national championship at the U.S.A. Wrestling Cadet Greco-Roman championships in 2007.

Sanders and several other future Boilermaker grapplers look to further their national honors later this week in the U.S.A. Wrestling Junior Freestyle National Championships.

New Jersey wins Schoolboy National Duals in Greco

June 28th, 2009 by Tom

Josh Lowe, InterMat High School Analyst

Heading into the 2009 Schoolboy Greco-Roman National Duals, one wondered whether it would again be a battle between Minnesota and Pennsylvania for the title. In each of the last two years, those squads met in the final. Minnesota won in 2008, while Pennsylvania prevailed in 2007 to win the back end of consecutive titles in this event.

However, New Jersey -- not exactly a traditional Greco-Roman power -- surprised the field with a 9-0 run through the championships. The Garden State squad was anchored by a pair of wrestlers that went 9-0 for the competition, Dylan Milonas (120) and Cory Damiana (190). Milnoas is raned 11th nationally in the recently released Junior High rankings by InterMat.

The run was not without challenges. In Pool A competition, defending champions Minnesota actually took 9 of the 17 matches from New Jersey. The difference in the 37-36 New Jersey victory was getting five victories by pin and technical fall, while Minnesota only mustered three. A pin by Damiana, technical fall by Jeffrey Miller (210), and pin by Gregory Webb (265) in the last three matches of that dual meet turned a 35-23 deficit into the one-point victory. Then, in the last match of championship pool competition, New Jersey needed a last match pin from Webb to knock off Wisconsin, 39-38.

Despite losing a match in preliminary Pool D to Missouri, Illinois cleared the other championship pool with a 3-0 record to advance to the first place match against New Jersey. The Land of Lincoln squad would fall short in the final, as they could not hold a 28-18 lead that they had secured heading into the last six matches of the dual meet. David Williams (152), Anthony Ferraro (160), Kenneth Bradley (175), Damiana, and Webb would win their matches to rally the Garden State squad to the gold medal.

Placement matches:
1st place: New Jersey defeated Illinois, 40-33
3rd place: Missouri defeated Minnesota 1, 39-30
5th place: Pennsylvania Red defeated Wisconsin, 40-29
7th place: Michigan 1 defeated Minnesota 2, 42-33
9th place: Kansas defeated Florida, 44-26

Undefeated wrestlers (at least six wins in contested matches):
70 pounds: Jabari Moody (IL) 6-0
77 pounds: KeShawn Hayes (MO) 9-0
84 pounds: Dylan Lucas (FL) 8-0
91 pounds: Coy Ozias (MD) 7-0, Luke Zilverberg (MN-2) 6-0
98 pounds: Bryce Brill IL 9-0
105 pounds: Brogan Humprhey (KS) 6-0
112 pounds: Russell Coleman (MO) 9-0, Jarred Johnson (KS) 6-0
120 pounds: Dylan Milonas (NJ) 9-0, Levi Eck (KS) 8-0
128 pounds: Eric Morris (PA) 9-0
144 pounds: Joe Cortese (IL) 8-0
152 pounds: Tommy Longendyke (MN-1) 8-0, Dominick Flock (WI) 7-0, Nick Corba (OH) 6-0
160 pounds: Luke Kisselback (PA) 9-0
190 pounds: Cory Damiana (NJ) 9-0, Adrian Bolognani (IL) 7-0
215 pounds: Alex Lennarston (WI) 9-0

Greco-Roman wrestler Rial finds new motivation

June 13th, 2009 by Tom

Council Bluffs, Ia. " Greco-Roman wrestling got to be a drag for Mark Rial, especially after a subpar showing at the 2008 Olympic Trials.

A move back to Cedar Falls, where his college wrestling career began, helped Rial get back on friendly terms with the wrestling style that allows only upper-body moves.

Rial, a state champion at Fort Dodge and an assistant coach at Northern Iowa, made the finals of the 145.5-pound weight class in the Greco-Roman challenge tournament at Mid-America Center on Sunday. He faced reigning National Open champion Faruk Sahin in a best-of-three series for a spot on the World Championships squad Sunday night.

In freestyle, Iowa assistant coach Jared Frayer at 145.5 and Bryce Hasseman of Iowa City at 185 pounds, along with Northern Iowa assistant coach Tervel Dlagnev at 264.5, faced National Open champions to determine the rest of the squad that will compete in Denmark in September.

Frayer was to face former Iowa State NCAA champion Trent Paulson - who grew up in Council Bluffs - while Hasseman met Jake Herbert and Dlagnev faced former Iowa and Oklahoma State NCAA champion Steve Mocco.

Rial was thinking he was done with Greco-Roman after the disheartening Olympic trials. He was living in Colorado Springs, training in Greco-Roman as if it was a full-time job.

"I took a step back, took some time off, became a father and moved back to Iowa and started coaching, "Rial said. "That got me going a little bit. January rolled around and I was like, 'I feel good and I'm in decent shape, (National Open) is a couple months away, and I can get in shape for that.' "

Rial said just being in the practice room at Northern Iowa was good for him.

"It made it fun, actually, "Rial said. "I think I put too much pressure on myself when I lived (in Colorado Springs). If I didn't win, oh my gosh the world's going to end. Now I'm just going out having a good time."

After losing the first round of the semifinals to Kerry Regner of Sunkist Kids, Rial got three turns with a front headlock for a 6-0 win and then a turn late in the third round for a 2-0 victory.

Rial said the front headlock is one of his best moves.

"Once I get that lock on people, it's pretty dangerous, "Rial said.

Late moves helped Frayer reach the best-of-three finals Sunday. He got a 2-point exposure move with 52 seconds left to beat Darrion Caldwell of Sunkist Kids. In their first match, Caldwell and Frayer each had two points, but Frayer won the criteria because his was a two-point move.

In the semifinals against Iowa's Brent Metcalf, Frayer won the first round in overtime with a clinch move and then got a second win on a takedown with 3 seconds left.

Hasseman lost the first round 1-0 against ex-Oklahoma State NCAA champion Chris Pendleton, but scored a fall in the second round to win the challenge tourney.

Dlagnev gave up two points in a pair of wins at 264.5.

No Title Winner at Dream 9 as Greco-Roman wrestling champion Joe Warren upset local favorite .

May 27th, 2009 by Tom

YOKOHAMA "Greco-Roman wrestling champion Joe Warren upset local favorite Norifumi "Kid "Yamamoto Tuesday at the Dream 9 Featherweight Grand Prix 2009 Second Round.

"Kid Yamamoto is a champion, and I respect him, "said the 32-year-old American from the winner's circle, "but a lot of these champions have been on top for a long time, and it's my job to crush them!"

Yamamoto, who had not fought since New Year's Eve 2007, got a bye in the Featherweight GP's first round. His return to action from knee surgery was the big story on tonight's card "but Warren had his own ideas regarding the ending.

The tone for this one was set during the referee's pre-fight instructions, when Yamamoto appeared ready to hug his opponent. Warren accepted a handshake, but swatted away Yamamoto's second hand. This was a hard-fought bout that went the distance.

Warren started light on his feet, and Yamamoto sent him reeling with an early front kick. The American reset, and closed with uppercuts before getting the first of his throwdowns from the clinch. Repeatedly, Warren the wrestler closed for takedowns. Yamamoto, who has a pretty good ground game himself, elected to stand and strike here, and made a strategy of meeting his opponent's advances with kicks, knees and the clinch. Warren accepted, going into the over-and-under clinch and trading knees with the Kid.

When he did get the fight to the mat Warren was mean "frequently guillotining and mashing Yamamoto's face then standing to slam. By midway through the first Yamamoto was bleeding from the bridge of the nose, by the end of the bout more blood was flowing from a gash under his left eye.

Yamamoto too often waited for Warren to close then tied him up, and the Japanese fighter was shown a yellow for this. A solid right hook and right straight punch scored points for Yamamoto, but Warren was overall more intrepid; and had the better stuff on the mat, particularly when he managed side mounts to bring the knees in and hammer down punches.

Yamamoto was still very much in this going into the second, but again he let his opponent control the flow and pace. Yamamoto's dandy right hook might have turned the tide, but Warren shook the blow off, smiled and continued pressing.

One judge did give it to Yamamoto, but the other two went with Warren.

"It's a win, we'll take it. "beamed Warren in his post-fight interview. "I'm honored to beat a champion like Kid Yamamoto. This was the Featherweight GP quarterfinal, so now we'll put this win behind us and concentrate on coming back and winning those other belts."

He continued, "I know my technique is not as solid as it should be, I need to learn how to stop some kicks, but I'm working hard, and the most dangerous thing is that I get better every single day."

"It was a split decision, "sighed Yamamoto in his post-fight interview, "but he was on top of me a lot, so I admit I lost the fight. He's a very good grappler, and I couldn't punch him as much as I hoped. But I hadn't fought for a long time, and I learned a lot tonight."

Warren vs. Yamamoto was one of four elimination bouts in the 63kg/139lbs DREAM Featherweight Grand Prix 2nd Round "the marquee attraction at Tuesday's event. The Yokohama Arena also hosted four "Super Hulk "David vs. Goliath battles; a Lightweight contest featuring Brazilian MMA star JZ Calvancante; and, in the Main Event, a DREAM Middleweight title match between Ronaldo "Jacare "Souza and Jason "Mayhem "Miller.

Also in the Featherweight tournament, Brazilian jiujitsu master Bibiano Fernandes took on Masakazu Imanari of Japan.

Fernandes, in a crouch, repeatedly went for the leg takedown here. And repeatedly, Imanari dropped to defend with bicycle kicks, which Fernandes grabbed and kicked at some, but was otherwise reluctant to pass. Plenty of tension, but an overall lack of engagement through the first until Fernandes ducked a flying knee and took a side mount with a minute remaining, putting in only a few off-target uppercuts and knees to end the first frame.

A similarly listless second "Fernandes got the win, but the fighters lost the room.

Happily for the crowd of 15,009, there were thrills galore when Japanese grappler Hideo Tokoro took on Abel Cullum, a 22-year-old American with a postmodern penchant for sideburns and cowboy hats.

Spirited sparring to start before a clumsy Cullum leg takedown attempt left the pair tied up in what can only be described as the pretzel position. Plenty of creative twisting and tumbling through an unorthodox first, Tokoro getting close to a triangle choke at one point, Cullum approaching a heel hook when they went north-south for a spell. Neither could finish but both had great chances, reversals and strikes.

Cullum started the second with a single leg takedown but Tokoro ended up with a good rear position that the fatigued Cullum could not break. With Cullum's corner shouting for a sweep, Tokoro tightened his grip, and when his opponent attempted to stand, brought up the arms for a rear naked choke to force the tapout.

In the final Featherweight GP contests, Yoshiro Maeda of Japan tangoed with compatriot Hiroyuki Takaya.

Maeda took an early half mount here, but Takaya's defenses were sound and soon the pair were standing and striking, both getting a few punches in on target. Maeda had better results with his second mount, passing with punches and knees. When the boys got back on their feet it was Maeda again with the superior stuff, and now Takaya was bleeding badly from above the eye. With the clock running out on the first Takaya was stuck in the corner and Maeda was pumping in knees "when in a flash everything changed.

Takaya dodged a blow, and, with Maeda going the other way, ducked out of the corner and to his feet. Maeda turned and followed with fists, but Takaya landed a devastating right cross on a counter. Maeda's knees buckled and he went down in a heap. A revitalized Takaya leapt in to hammer at his unresponsive opponent, bringing the referee forward to stop the fight just 20 seconds before the bell.

With their victories tonight, Warren, Fernandes, Tokoro and Takaya advance to the September Featherweight GP semifinals.

There was plenty of action and excitement in DREAM's helter-skelter Super Hulk tournament, as none of the four Openweight bouts made it out of the first round.

Bruiser Bob Sapp of the United States brought a whopping 56kg/123lbs weight advantage to the ring for his bout with Japanese pro-wrestler Ikuhisa Minowa. Everybody loves the underdog, and Minowa gave the partisan crowd plenty to love in this short-but-sweet performance.

Sapp charged to wrap around a headlock, and soon had muscled his opponent to the ground for a side then rear mount. However, Sapp could not sustain pressure, and after absorbing a few punches to the side of the head the crafty Minowa made his move, reversing to top position and working an Achilles lock to force the tapout at just 75 seconds.

"I've fought the big guys before, "said Minowa afterward. "And I learned that I shouldn't stay in the ring with them too long "one good strike from them could be very dangerous. So I really wanted to finish the fight early, to avoid that."

Also wildly heterogeneous were Korean titan Hong-Man Choi and six-time Major League Baseball All Star Jose Canseco, 45. These two faced off in a match that had garnered plenty of media interest stateside.

Alas, Canseco just didn't have it in him. The Cuban landed a promising right cross during his early hit-and-run strategy, then threw a couple of kicks before pointing to his right knee and wincing. Now Choi caught up with his limping opponent, tossing him to the ground then leaping atop to rain down the punches. The referee had no choice but to step in and call it for Choi. This one went 77 seconds.

Another pair of strikingly dissimilar athletes were K-1 veteran Jan "The Giant "Nortje and Cameroon judoka Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, who fought in the third Super Hulk contest.

Nortje missed with a low kick before the aggressive Sokoudjou closed with a bear hug, looking for the takedown. Nortje however stayed on his feet. Sokoudjou made good with low kicks before taking another bear hug and twisting a takedown to side mount. Nortje's defense was wanting, as Sokoudjou pounded in enough fists to get the referee to stop it. Sokoudjou however didn't immediately heed the call to cease, and this did not go over well with K-1 veteran Ray Sefo and the rest of Nortje's corner. A bit of shoving and shouting between the two teams at the end of this one, and a yellow card to Sokoudjou.

"Nortje was too big, so it was too difficult for me to reach him, "said Sokoudjou in his post-bout interview. "My tactics were to clinch, take down, and strike. I was a little emotional at the end. I never intended to keep punching after the referee signaled a stop, so I want to apologize to my opponent."

With a mere 31kg/68lbs weight differential and 8cm/3 "of height going the other way, boxers Mark Hunt of New Zealand and Gegard Mousasi of Holland represented "on the Super Hulk card anyway "relatively similar physical specimens.

Mousasi came in quickly with a single leg takedown and took side mount, but Hunt defended well against the punches. Mousasi however soon seized the opportunity to extract Hunt's left arm and hyperextend for the submission and victory.

Tonight's four Super Hulk winners "Minowa, Choi, Sokoudjou and Mousasi "advance to the tournament semifinals in September, with the two men victorious there going head-to-head at "Dynamite! "on New Year's Eve.

Topping off tonight's card, the Main Event was a title fight. When Mousasi moved up a weight class he had to leave his Dream Middleweight belt behind. Here, Brazilian Ronaldo "Jacare "Souza and American barbarian Jason "Mayhem "Miller fought for the right to claim it. This was a rematch between the pair, Jacare won by decision last June.

The two traded hard strikes from the opening bell, Jacare finding his distance and making good with a straight punch combination before a throw left Jacare down in the corner. In a flash, Miller fired in a kick, opening a nasty gash over the Brazilian's forehead. The foul prompted a time stoppage, doctor check and a yellow card for Miller. Jacare was cleared to continue, and after resumption got a quick takedown. With Jacare pressing hard for a mount, it quickly became clear he was also flooding Miller's chest with blood. Another stop and this time the ringside doctor decided the cut was too serious and Jacare could not continue. It was announced that under Dream rules the fight would be ruled a "no contest."

Afterward, Jacare told the media he thought he'd been on the road to victory in the fight, because his punches were landing. Informed of the quip, Miller just laughed. "I'm very disappointed, "he said, "I wanted to give the Dream fans a great show and I think I did, but the wrong way "baka dakara! (I must be stupid!)"

And finally, a highly anticipated Superfight in the Lightweight class saw wrestler Tatsuya Kawajiri of Japan take on popular Brazilian grappler Gesias "JZ "Calvancante.

Kawajiri did a fine job of controlling here. The bout started with Calvancante in a boxing stance, fists far forward, tagging Kawajiri with the one-two before grabbing a kick and firing in a hard left. They then went to the ground, Calvancante locking the head and wrapping the legs, but doing little else to threaten. Some sparring after a re-stand before Calvancante failed with a leg takedown and Kawajiri hooked up the Brazilian and pumped the knee. Kawajiri landed a nice left before they tumbled down and locked up on the mat. No apparent damage to either fighter at the bell to end the first.

The fight went to the mat early in the second, Kawajiri again on top and Calvancante locking him up to stay out of trouble. Back on their feet it was Kawajiri with the better strikes, pounding a right onto his opponent's chin. Midway through the second, the Japanese fighter landed more tight punches from a side mount. Now Calvancante looked tired, and Kawajiri's superior stamina allowed his to ride out the round to a well-deserved unanimous decision.

All fights were fought under official Dream rules, with a 10-minute first round and a five-minute second round.

The Olympia DREAM.9 Featherweight Grand Prix 2009 2nd Round attracted 15,009 to the Yokohama Arena. It was broadcast live in Japan on TBS and SkyPerfect; and in the United States on HDNet.

Press Release by Monty DiPietro (Photo courtesy of Dream)

Wrestling deals with new allegations of corruption

September 15th, 2008 by Tom

By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer

BEIJING (AP)"The Olympic wrestling mat is red, yellow and blue, dynamic colors designed to give the athletes a vivid backdrop for their talents. It's that gray area outside the wrestling circle that discolors what its governing body proudly calls the world's oldest sport.

Some in the sport say it's one of the shadiest, too.

Backroom politicking, bribery, corruption, outlandish officiating, even threats of violence are routinely alleged in a sport that is little followed in most countries but, when noticed, seems to have as many bizarre story lines as WWE-style entertainment wrestling.

And when it happens at the Olympics, many unfamiliar with the sport are left wondering what in the world goes on in wrestling.

The most recent allegations came last month, when livid Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian walked off the medals podium and dropped his unwanted bronze medal for Greco-Roman 84 kilograms on the mat. Abrahamian blew up when a disputed penalty call wound up deciding his semifinal match against Italian Andrea Minguzzi, who went on to win the gold medal.

"I think the semifinals shows that FILA does not play fair," Abrahamian said, referring to wrestling's international governing body. "I don't deserve to lose. The system is corrupt."

His coach, Leo Myllar, was equally displeased, saying, "It's all politics, and it's all corrupt."

The International Olympic Committee is investigating, but only to determine if there should be disciplinary action against Abrahamian for his medal-stand exit.

What makes Swedish officials especially leery of this latest loss is that one of FILA's top vice presidents is Italian, and Minguzzi did nothing internationally"his average finish in five world-level championships was 27th " until he suddenly won his country's first Olympic wrestling gold in 20 years.

In Athens, Abrahamian lost a similarly disputed decision to Russia's Aleksey Mishin, who won gold there but was upset by Minguzzi in Beijing, as was Abrahamian. After losing in Athens, Abrahamian wrote on his Web site, "The score was 1-1, and that means losing, in case you meet a Russian."

Abrahamian's 2004 loss was one reason former FILA board member Pelle Svensson of Sweden resigned, but only after he unsuccessfully attempted to institute measures to begin cleaning up the sport.

What is certain is if there is an Olympics, there will be allegations of misdeeds.

Svensson, a retired judge, complained Thursday during an interview with the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that he was threatened"he wouldn't say by whom" following a post-Athens argument that left a Russian wrestling executive with a torn shirt.

In Atlanta, Iranian officials went ballistic after American Kurt Angle won a gold medal in a close, disputed match on his home mat. In Sydney, there were numerous quirky calls. In Athens, Olympic champion Buvaisar Saitiev of Russia and Belarus' Murad Gaidarov fought as they left the mat, so unhappy was Gaidarov at the officiating.

Americans aren't immune to FILA-related disputes, either. In the 2003 world freestyle championships"in New York, no less"Eric Guerrero was forcibly removed from the mat when he refused to leave after losing a disputed decision. Heavyweight Daniel Cormier, who is wrestling in Beijing, chased an Iranian wrestler around the mat and refused to shake the referee's hand when he lost.

And does this sound familiar? In Sydney, American Sammie Henson was so distraught at losing a gold medal he felt was stripped by a terrible call that he tossed his silver medal down a hallway.

The low-scoring sport's most visible problem is that many officiating calls are subjective and subtle moves and tiebreakers often decide winner and loser. A replay system allows a judge to review a referee's call, but there is no clear-cut rule when it should be used. It wasn't in Abrahamian's match.

In Beijing, it's obvious who runs amateur wrestling's big show.

FILA board members and executives sit in plush chairs beside huge displays of flowers a few feet off the mat, immediately behind the mat chairman and judge, and routinely talk among themselves.

Wrestling executives from other countries often stop by to talk, even as matches are going on, and mat giant Russia's higher-ups seem to be everywhere.

When FILA executive give their rare interviews, they merely praise the sport's virtues and refuse to be drawn into any discussion about alleged problems.

In Beijing, there are five more days of wrestling to go, and that means plenty of time for more controversy to erupt. And many who feel wronged probably won't be comforted by all those $100 displays of cut flowers toted matside every day.

From Olympian to Collegian – Garrett Lowney is determined to continue his winning ways

September 11th, 2008 by Tom

By Jeff Beshey

A few weeks after the Sydney Games were over I sat down with Olympic Bronze Medalist and University of Minnesota heavyweight Garrett Lowney. Although the 21 year old Lowney has been a student/athlete at the U of MN for two years, he still has four years of college eligibility left and has yet to step on the mat as a Gopher. I asked him about his Olympic experience and what he expects as a college wrestler.

What are some of the ways your life has changed since winning the Olympic bronze medal?
Overall my life really hasn't changed. I'm a student again going through all the same things everyone else goes through. I'll soon be back with the team just like always. There are a few different things like signing autographs, going to speak with people and getting noticed every once in a while, which is a little different for me, but overall my life really hasn't changed that much.

When did being an Olympian become your goal?
My mom says that I told her when I first started wresting, at five or six years old, that I wanted to be in the Olympics. I don't really remember that, but she swears by it. I do remember watching wrestling as a very young kid and dreaming about being there.

How old were you when you started wrestling?
I was five years old. My dad got me started just playing around in a little kids club. A few years later, they realized I had some potential and they started pushing it a little bit more. Probably about third or fourth grade my dad got me into freestyle because by that time there wasn't anyone in my club or in my area that was anywhere near where I was, so we went to the national tournaments and I got a lot of match time and went up against a lot of very tough kids in that age group.

When did you really believe you could make the Olympic Team?
I guess I always believed that I could, but probably around nationals. When I placed second at nationals. I realized that it was really close and I just had to perfect a few things and polish off some of the things I was doing wrong. At that point -- at nationals this year -- is when I knew that I was very close and it was within my reach.

How did you prepare yourself for the Olympics?
I watched more tape, I watched myself quite a bit trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. I worked on my par terre [position] quite a bit because that seemed to be the only thing missing. By that time I had developed such a style on my feet that no one was taking me down. No one in the world took me down. I was really comfortable on my feet. My par terre wrestling was going to be the main make or break for the matches -- whether or not I performed on top and on bottom."

Did you train with the other Olympic team members?
We had a trip to Russia and wrestled in the Poddoubny Tournament about a month before the Olympics, which is considered to be as tough as the Olympics because there's 10-12 Russians in every weight and then all those surrounding Russian countries like Georgia and Kazakstan were there too. It's a very very difficult tournament. That was the point I knew I could compete internationally. I wrestled in that tournament and I competed against some of the best in the world. After that we had our two week training camp in Colorado Springs. Then we left about two weeks early for Australia and trained for a week in Canberra. Those were the three main training camps. Other than that, I trained here in Minnesota.

Who did you train with from the U.S. that helped you out?
Marty Morgan helped me tremendously with my defense and my style and seeing the little things that I was missing. Dan Chandler of course helped me tremendously with developing my Greco style. Billy Pierce and Quincy Clark, who made the Olympic team -- I wrestled with them quite a bit. There was a lot of people around that I could train with.

How much of the Olympic competition was mental? How much was physical?
You've got to be physically strong and physically ready for the Olympics because if you're not, you don't even belong out there. I was in the best shape of my life. At that level if you fall asleep in a match for even a couple of seconds it might cost you the match. Being mentally focused and concentrating the entire match is very important. I believe you've got to know you can win when you step out on the mat. By that time, I had trained so hard and I felt so good and so confident about everything -- I knew I could win every match. I lost in the semifinals to the gold medalist because I wasn't focused and I gave up points right away. I wasn't focused and I wasn't ready for the match. That really showed how much of it was mental because if you take even one split second of not concentrating, it could cost you the whole match, which it did.

What is it like to represent the whole United States?
It feels great, especially when you stand on the podium and watch your flag raised. I would have liked it better if they were playing my national anthem but it really is a great honor to represent your country and everything it stands for.

Did you have a lot of fan support at the Olympics?
There was about 20 people, friends and family that came all the way down there to watch me. That helped a lot because they really lit up the crowd and they really let people know who they were cheering for. They were so loud and it really does help.

What is the pinnacle achievement for amateur wrestlers?
Because world championships and the Olympics are the biggest competition that amateur wrestlers can compete in, they are the pinnacle. Being a world champ -- especially in Greco, there's been very few world champs and even fewer Olympic champions. So, if you reach that level to be number one in the world in Greco, that is the pinnacle -- that is the top of the game. No one from the U.S. in Greco has ever won two gold medals. There's only a couple of people who have medalled twice in the Olympics in Greco. It's definitely the top priority and top goal of all amateur wrestlers.

Did you get to meet anyone that impressed you at the Olympics?
I got to meet a lot of the athletes -- Maurice Green, Marian Jones. I was with the Dream Team at the Opening Ceremonies. I got my picture taken with the Williams sisters. Everyone just had this equality. Before the Opening Ceremonies everyone was walking around meeting the different teams, taking pictures and videos. The only time I really was in awe was meeting Muhammad Ali. He stepped out of the car and it was like whoa! This is Muhammad Ali! It really was exciting meeting everyone and walking out into the stadium at Opening Ceremonies after watching it for so many years -- kind of makes you think, wow, do I really belong here? It was an experience I'll never forget.

Does that atmosphere make it harder to focus?
It really does, and that's the biggest difference between the Olympics and any other competition -- all the press and all the hype. The Olympic Committee did a good job of preparing us for what to expect. The biggest thing I had to concentrate on was not to become a spectator -- going to all the events and trying to meet all these people and forgetting about the real reason that I'm there. I had to get out and see some of the events and take my mind off things but I really had to focus on why I was there and what I had to do.

As an athlete could you watch any of the other events you wanted?
They had sign-ups where you could sign up for tickets first-come first-serve and they had so many tickets for each event. You could just sign up and pick up your ticket and head on over to the event. It was a pretty good deal. We went to a few volleyball games and a basketball game. We had fun but we couldn't really participate and relax and do everything that the other fans were doing because we had to stay focused because we hadn't competed yet. We were one of the last events of the Games.
Did you have a chance to do any site-seeing in Australia?
After the Olympics I took a little vacation. I went to Dunk Island, which is a little island resort off The Great Barrier Reef, for a few days. We went swimming and snorkeling. It was a pretty good deal.
Let's switch gears a bit. Why did you decide to go to the University of Minnesota?
One of the main reasons was the program and the practice partners they had for me. At the time Joel Sharratt was here. Tim Hartung, Billy Pierce, Marty Morgan, Brock Lesnar, Shelton Benjamin -- all these guys. This was the best room for a heavyweight in the country. Another big reason was I got accepted into The Carlson School of Management. It's a top school and that was probably the thing that pushed me over the edge. That's probably the thing that made me decide -- the academic part of it.

What other schools did you consider?
I was getting recruited by Wisconsin, Iowa State, Northwestern. I visited Iowa State, Northwestern, and Minnesota. After I took the visit, I was leaning towards Minnesota because the guys were great. Everyone seemed so nice and everyone clicked so well with my personality. We had a lot of fun and so that was a big reason why I was leaning towards here and once I found out that I would for sure get accepted into Carlson as a freshman, it definitely made up my mind for me.

How hard has it been to basically sit on the sidelines the past two seasons with the Gophers?
I'm definitely ready. I've been sitting in the stands way too long already. It really is hard. If you're a competitor, you don't want to be in the stands, you want to be out on the mat. It really is tough. But it might have prepared me and gave me that extra little edge because I'm so ready now to put that singlet on and do some damage this year.

Brock Lesnar has been something of a fan favorite the last couple of years. Do you feel any pressure to live up to his accomplishments?
I don't think about filling his shoes at all. We're two totally different styles of wrestlers. We're two totally different wrestlers and there's really no similarity in how we wrestle. I'm not feeling any pressure to fill his shoes and to become a big celebrity like he was. He earned everything he got and he was a hard worker. I'm out here to win every match. I honestly believe -- anyone I wrestle, every time I step on the mat -- I can win. I just have to take it one match at a time, My ultimate goal is to be a national champ. Whether or not that comes is up to me. I don't really think about taking up Brock's place, although I get that a lot. People ask 'are you big enough to take Brock's spot,' because he was such a huge guy and he really dominated a lot of people. But that's the difference between him and me, I'm not going to be the big, dominating, powerhouse wrestler.

You're not the biggest heavyweight. How will you approach wrestling guys 30-40 pounds bigger than you?
I was a heavyweight in high school my senior year. I've wrestled a lot of heavyweights. I've wrestled with the best heavyweights in the country right in the practice room -- Billy Pierce, Brock Lesnar, and Shelton Benjamin. All these guys were All-Americans. All of them are big guys. The size of my opponents doesn't bother me at all. You've got to learn how to wrestle heavyweights. It's something that you've got to develop and you've got to know. There's a strategy to wrestling heavyweights. I don't think there is anyone in the country that's any stronger than me just because they're heavier or bigger than me. I've worked hard with my strength training. That's one of my advantages, I have a lot of strength but yet I'm small enough and I'm quick enough.

Does your success at the Olympics put any extra pressure on you?
I don't worry about the pressure anyone else gives me. I put enough pressure on myself. I don't have to pay attention to what everyone else thinks. There's a lot of chatter out there. Some of the polls have me at number five or number six. All that means nothing to me. I know my ability. I'm confident in my ability. The only pressure I feel is the pressure that I put on myself.

Does your Olympic experience give you an edge in college competition?
I think it really does because I'm coming off such a big tournament. I'm real confident and I'm real excited about wrestling. The only thing I've got to be careful of, is not to have a letdown. After a big competition sometimes athletes are prone to having letdowns and not competing at the best of their ability just because of the mental letdown and all of the stress you feel at that big tournament. Wrestling college and wrestling Greco is totally different and I haven't proven anything in college yet. I'm definitely motivated and definitely excited about the season and about wrestling for the University of Minnesota.

What do you give up to keep your amateur status and college eligibility?
I can't accept any prize money. I can't accept money for speaking if its because I'm a medalist. I gave up money for winning the Bronze. I never even considered taking that, and giving up my amateur status. There's life after wrestling and I have to get my degree.

Do your plans include future World Championships? future Olympics?
Definitely four more years. I want to win my gold medal. In four years, I'll still be training hard with the University of Minnesota and summers I'll still be wrestling world championships. Definitely in four years I'll try out for Greece and then after that we'll see what opportunities come up.

College wrestling and world championships is a lot of wrestling isn't it?
Yes it is, but even if I wasn't wrestling Greco and was just sticking to college, I'd still be training and doing lots of wrestling in the summers anyway. The only difference is I'll be competing in the summers when otherwise I would just be training and working out and not competing.

You've had success in both Greco-Roman and freestyle. Any desire to do more freestyle?
I miss freestyle a little bit, but I really did fall in love with Greco this year. I'll be sticking with Greco. I considered -- what if I won my gold in Greco this year? Maybe I'd go freestyle just to see what I could do. I didn't get my gold in Greco -- so I'll still be going Greco.

Court: Medal-Dropping Abrahamian Wrestler Was Right

September 11th, 2008 by Tom

The Associated Press

BEIJING: It turns out that the Greco-Roman wrestler who was stripped of his bronze medal for dropping it in disgust on the mat had reason for being angry, according to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Ara Abrahamian of Sweden complained to CAS that a penalty in the second round of his 84-kilogram bout on Aug. 14 against Italian Andrea Minguzzi wasn't assessed until after the round ended. Once factored in, Abrahamian automatically lost the match. Minguzzi went on to win the gold medal.

Abrahamian's coach was then denied a request for a video review, then the wrestling federation " the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles, or FILA " refused to consider a protest.

The 28-year-old Abrahamian had to be restrained from going after matside officials following his loss to Minguzzi. He stormed away from the area where interviews are conducted and slammed a door to the dressing rooms.

After he was given his bronze during the medals ceremony, Abrahamian walked off the podium, went over to mat and dropped it in disgust and walked away. On Aug. 15, the International Olympic Committee disqualified Abrahamian and stripped his medal for violating the spirit of fair play during the medal ceremony.
The Armenian-born Abrahamian " who also lost a 2004 Olympic semifinal match on a disputed call " initially wanted judges in the bout tossed out and his medal restored. But in the end, he only wanted CAS to verify that the lack of an immediate appeals process is a loophole that needs to be fixed. It also was referred to as a violation of "the Olympic Charter and FILA's own rules about fair play."

Judges said Abrahamian was right.

"We limit ourselves to ruling that FILA must, consistently with the (Olympic) Charter and general principles of fairness, establish for the future a jury of appeal to determine the validity or otherwise of complaints of the kind ventilated by (Abrahamian), "the judges wrote.

Elsewhere in the 20-page ruling, judges noted several times that FILA did not appear at a hearing.

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