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Henson and Miranda receive support from private fund for U.S. wrestlers who have won multiple medals



2006 World bronze medalists Sammie Henson (Flintstone, Ga./Sunkist Kids) and Patricia Miranda (New Haven, Conn./Sunkist Kids) received payments from a special fund from private donors earmarked for U.S. wrestlers who earn multiple medals for the United States.

Henson won a bronze medal at 55 kg/121 lbs. in the men's freestyle division at the World Wrestling Championships in Guangzhou, China on September 27.

Henson won a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and won a World gold medal at the 1998 World Freestyle Championships in Tehran, Iran.

Miranda won a bronze medal at 51 kg/112.25 lbs. in the women's freestyle division at the World Wrestling Championships in Guangzhou, China on September 30.

Miranda won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. She also has won World silver medals at the 2003 World Championships in New York, N.Y. and the 2000 World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

"Our hope is to be able to distribute as much money as we can. The results show that we are providing an incentive to the right people," said Stan Dziedzic, the past USA Wrestling president who has spearheaded the development of the program. "Sammie Henson, who is in his fourth Olympic cycle, proves he can continue to win medals for the United States. Patricia Miranda, who is also facing the demands of Yale Law School, is the kind of person we want to continue to compete for our nation."

A group of wrestling leaders, who are also successful in the private sector, have raised funds for that provide financial rewards to wrestlers who win more than one World-level medal for the United States. This is additional funding for these athletes above and beyond what they will receive from USA Wrestling and the U.S. Olympic Committee for their wrestling achievements. These private donors, with Dziedzic's leadership, are working with USA Wrestling to coordinate and expand the program, with the goal of improving the U.S. performance at the World and Olympic levels.

Those who are eligible for this fund are past Olympic wrestling medalists for the United States. In addition, any U.S. athlete who wins two World and/or Olympic medals during an Olympic quadrennium (four-year cycle) will also receive a financial payment.

Currently, the payment structure includes:
* $25,000 for an Olympic gold medal by a multiple medalist who meets requirements
* $15,000 for an Olympic silver medal by a multiple medalist who meets requirements
* $10,000 for an Olympic bronze medal by a multiple medalist who meets requirements
* $15,000 for a World gold medal by a multiple medalist who meets requirements
- $9,000 for a World gold medal by a multiple medalist in a women's non-Olympic weight who meets requirements
* $10,000 for a World silver medal by a multiple medalist who meets requirements
* $6,000 for a World silver medal by a multiple medalist in a women's non-Olympic weight who meets requirements
* $5,000 for a World bronze medal by a multiple medalist who meets requirements
* $3,000 for a World bronze medal by a multiple medalist in a women's non-Olympic weight who meets requirements

The amount of funding for these achievements could increase over time as more funds are raised from other private donors for the program.

Because he won a World bronze medal in China, Henson will receive $5,000 from this special private fund. Because she won a World bronze medal in a women's non-Olympic weight class in China, Miranda will receive $3,000 from the program.

In 2005, World bronze medalist Sara McMann (Iowa City, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) became the first athlete to receive payment from this special private fund. McMann was a 2004 Olympic silver medalist, and also won a World silver medal in 2003.

The U.S. won nine medals during the World Championships in 2006. All nine athletes become eligible for payments during the next two years if they win another medal at the World Championships or the Olympic Games.

In addition to Henson and Miranda, those eligible during this quadrennium include these 2006 World medalists:
* Mike Zadick (Solon, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) at 60 kg/132 lbs. in men's freestyle
* Bill Zadick (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in men's freestyle
* Donny Pritzlaff (Madison, Wis./New York AC) at 74 kg/163 lbs. in men's freestyle
* Lindsey Durlacher (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 55 kg/121 lbs. in men's Greco-Roman
* Joe Warren (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 60 kg/132 lbs. in men's Greco-Roman
* Harry Lester (Akron, Ohio/USOEC/Gator WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in men's Greco-Roman
* Kristie Marano (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. in women's freestyle

In addition, the following 2005 World medalists remain eligible if they win another medal this quadrennium:
* Joe Williams (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 74 kg/163 lbs. in men's freestyle
* Tolly Thompson (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 120 kg/264.5 pounds in men's freestyle
* Sally Roberts (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 59 kg/130 lbs. in women's freestyle
* Sara McMann (Iowa City, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. in women's freestyle
* Katie Downing (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 67 kg/158.5 lbs. in women's freestyle
* Iris Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. in women's freestyle
* Brandon Ruiz (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in men's Greco-Roman.

Also eligible during this quadrennium are these 2004 Olympic medalists:
* Stephen Abas (Fresno, Calif./Sunkist Kids) at 55 kg/121 lbs. in men's freestyle
* Jamill Kelly (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in men's freestyle
* Cael Sanderson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 85 kg/185 lbs. in men's freestyle
* Sara McMann (Iowa City, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. in women's freestyle
* Rulon Gardner (Wellsville, Utah/Sunkist Kids) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. in men's Greco-Roman

"The U.S. wrestlers who were gold medalist this year are the kind of athletes we want to reward," said Dziedzic. "Joe Warren was 29 years old and Bill Zadick was 33 years old. Both live in Colorado Springs and train fulltime at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Both are forgoing a career and dedicating themselves to winning an Olympic medal. Who wouldn't want them to continue for two more years to pursue an Olympic medal?"

It is a fact that many of the most successful wrestlers in U.S. history have won multiple World and Olympic medals for the United States. The statistics show that once a wrestler is good enough to win a medal on the world level, the odds are that he or she has a great chance to win another one rather quickly.

This project is designed to give our American wrestlers who have won medals an incentive to stay involved in the sport longer, win even more medals for our nation, and have a specific financial reward for being a repeat performer.

In addition, these very successful wrestling leaders will also provide counsel to athletes to assist them in transferring their human capital into successful careers outside of wrestling. This will be a mentoring group, available to the athletes as they make choices about their future. The goal is to provide the financial incentive and human support for these athletes to commit to an additional Olympic four-year cycle.

Currently, U.S. wrestlers receive financial support from USA Wrestling and the U.S. Olympic Committee based upon performance. This support has allowed more U.S. wrestlers the financial support to continue competing than just a few decades ago. However, this does not match some of the incentives that the wrestlers from other nations receive if they are able to win Olympic gold medals.

The trend about multiple medalists has been proven time and time again in international competition.

A look at the champions from the 2006 World Championships shows that many of the gold medalists were past World and Olympic medal winners. Of the 21 World Champions in all three styles, 14 are past World or Olympic medalists. An amazing 11 of the 21 World champions were previously a World or Olympic champion, making them a multiple gold medalist.

"The results prove what we already knew. Once you have won a medal, you know how to win medals and you will continue to do so," said Dziedzic.

Fundraising for this program continues, with goals of increasing the levels of support available to the multiple-medal winners.
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