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|Campbell, Bernard weigh in and receive draws for Olympic women’s freestyle wrestling on Aug. 9|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
LONDON, England – The final two U.S. women’s freestyle wrestlers who will compete in the 2012 Olympic Games have weighed in and received their draws for their competition on Thursday, August 9: Kelsey Campbell (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and
Campbell drew the No. 10 spot, and will face two-time Olympic champion and nine-time World champion Saori Yoshida of Japan.
Should Campbell win, she will face the winner of the match between 2009 World champion Yuliya Ratkevich of Azerbaijan and Maria Prevolaraki of Greece. Ratkevich won her World title at 59 kg, and has since won a World silver medal down at 55 kg.
“Yoshida is a great champion. We will have to be ready to wrestle. We are at the Olympic Games and we expect that. Whether it is Yoshida or anyone else, we came here to win. Kelsey should stick to the game plan we have set for that match, and we will go from there,” said National Women’s Coach Terry Steiner.
Steiner believes Campbell is ready for the task ahead.
“Her preparation has gone well. She has done a great job. She continues to improve. She is one of those people who try to do everything right. Hopefully, it translates to something here,” said Steiner.
Bernard drew the No. 17 spot, and will face Jenny Fransson of Sweden. Fransson was fifth at the 2010 World Championships. Bernard beat her in the first round of the 2011 World Championships.
Should Bernard win, she will face the winner of the match between five-time World champion Stanka Zlateeva of Bulgaria and 2011 World bronze medalist Vasalisa Marzalyuk of Belarus.
“Ali has almost the same draw as last year at the World Championships. There are two tough competitors. Ali has proven she can beat anyone at this weight. She has beaten the Olympic champion and the Olympic silver medalist. We’ve shown we can compete with anyone. We came here expecting to win. It doesn’t matter where we face people,” said Steiner.
Steiner is impressed with Bernard’s resolve and competitiveness.
“Ali had a rocky road getting here. Losing in the Trials, coming back after the situation at 72 kg. She got a little injured and came back after that. Because of all of that, I believe it has made her focus a little more. She is doing a great job holding it all together and being focused. Ali has been here before. She has set high expectations for herself,” said Bernard.
Campbell is competing in her first Olympic Games. Campbell placed fifth at the 2010 World Championships at 59 kg and was a 2011 World Team member at 59 kg. She was a U.S. Open national champion in 2009 and 2010.
Campbell is a native of Milwaukie, Ore., and competed on the varsity wrestling team at Arizona State. She is currently a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Bernard is competing in her second Olympic Games, after placing fifth at 72 kg at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. She was a 2011 World bronze medalist, and also competed in the 2009 World Championships. Bernard won two Junior World titles and a University World title during her career. She boasts three U.S. Open national titles.
Bernard is a native of New Ulm, Minn. She competed in college in Canada, winning five CIS Canadian college national titles, first at the Univ. of Regina then at the Univ. of Alberta.
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