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Chinese wrestlers taking part in camp, competition at U.S. Olympic Education Center
The road to Beijing is going through Marquette, Mich.
The U.S. Olympic Education Center program at Northern Michigan University is currently hosting aspiring Chinese Olympic athletes in Greco-Roman and women's freestyle wrestling during a 10-day camp. Chinese boxers and weightlifters also are taking part in the camp and visit to the USOEC.
The visit by the Chinese will conclude with a China vs. USOEC competition on Oct. 23 in the Berry Events Center on the Northern Michigan campus.
The 2008 Olympic Games begin on August 8, 2008 (8-8-08) in Beijing, China.
The visit has allowed the U.S. to learn more about Chinese culture in preparation for the Olympics. The USOEC also has arranged for the Chinese athletes to visit local schools and NMU classes, in addition to meeting community members at various events.
"The significance of the Chinese teams visiting the USOEC is monumental because this is the first time four different sports from China have come to train and compete at the same time in the USA," said USOEC Women's Freestyle Coach Shannyn Gillespie. "Northern Michigan and the USOEC are getting a glimpse of what the competitors will be like next year in the 2008 Beijing Games via this multi-sport competition. It is rare to have an international multi-sport event outside of the World University Games, Pan American Games or the Olympic Games. It is even more rare to host such an event."
The China vs. USOEC competition will be available for viewing on B2 Networks. The live events will be aired through the event website http://webb.nmu.edu/ChinaVsUSOEC/ as well as http://www.b2livetv.com. Fans wanting to watch the competition via B2 Networks will need a high-speed Internet connection and a current version of Microsoft Windows Media Player. Fans may choose to watch one sport, wrestling includes both men's and women's matches, for $6 (U.S.) or purchase an event pass for $10 (U.S.). The event pass will give the opportunity for fans to switch between the wrestling and boxing matches throughout the duration of the competition. The competitions in each sport will be broadcast simultaneously.
The matchups for next week's Greco-Roman competition between the USOEC and China have yet to be announced, but USOEC Greco-Roman coach Ivan Ivanov said he is "very pleased" with how workouts are going.
There are eight Chinese Greco-Roman wrestlers here training with USOEC athletes at Northern Michigan.
"This is a great opportunity for us, training with the Chinese team," Ivanov said. "This training camp has been very valuable to our wrestlers. Our focus is on getting a lot of live wrestling in during the time the Chinese are with us. This camp is going to be very beneficial for us."
USOEC wrestlers expected to compete against the Chinese in the dual include Jim Gruenwald and Kerry Regner at 60 kg/132 lbs., Jake Curby at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Jake Plamann at 84 kg/185 lbs., Pete Gounaridis and Chas Betts at 96 kg/211.5 lbs., and Pete Kovalchuk at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
The three women's freestyle wrestlers from China are each scheduled to wrestle a pair of matches during the competition with the USOEC. Liang Yue is scheduled to face Katie Crouch and Lindsey Brooks at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Ge Zhen is scheduled to wrestle Schuyler Brown and Shyla Iokia at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. Wang Li will meet Iokia and Amy Borgnini at 63 kg.
"This is a multicultural exchange that will blend the best of the sport and the best of education into a melting pot of learning," Gillespie said, "that will foster lifelong memories and will help bridge the gap between two nations."
CHINA TEAM ROSTER FOR TRIP TO USOEC
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Liang Yue
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Ge Zhen
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Wang Li
Coach - Ma Zeng Liang
Coaches - Zhang Longqi, Chen Lijun