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TheMat.com moving to USOC website platform with new look and functionality

This week, TheMat.com will move to the USOC platform, with a new look, new functionality, but with the same favorite features....

Terry Shockley named Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Shockley will succeed long-time chairman Jim Keen. Sr. as Chairman of the Board....

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NCAA announces finalist cities for its championships for 2014-18, including wrestling at all levels

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The Olympic Athlete's Life Village, Workout, Venue



As an Olympic athlete, the U.S. wrestling team members will be involved in many activities and experiences during their time in Sydney, Australia. The three most important places that they will spend their time during their Olympic experience in Sydney is at the Olympic Village, in their training site, and in their competition venue. In scouting out these important areas, TheMat.com viewers will have an opportunity to see in advance some of the places that the U.S. wrestlers will spend their most important hours in Australia. The Olympic Village is very close to the Olympic Park, where the Olympic Stadium, the baseball stadium, the basketball arena and other key venues have been built. The Olympic Village in Sydney is a large, spread out community, which will later be a complete housing development for local citizens. From the outside, the village looks like a row of brand new condominiums. Nothing is close in Sydney, and you must take a bus just to get to the village. On the north end of the village is the international zone, where the media and guests can spend time with the Olympians at a number of stores and other common areas. This is a mixing area of many people from many cultures. Only those with a credential with village access may move past those gates into the athlete housing areas. The United States is housed in a section of the village called Green Turtle, marked by green colored banners with turtles on it (all of the sections are named after a colored animal). The USOC has its village offices in one building, House number 799. The U.S. athletes are housed in other buildings nearby. According to coaches and athletes from the U.S. delegation, the housing accommodations are nice and will suit the needs. There are buses running throughout the village, taking athletes to dining halls and numerous other services. The village is very large, and getting around by foot would take considerable time without the buses. The U.S. wrestling team, when they are in Sydney, will be practicing at the High Performance Center. This facility is actually located just outside one of the side gates to the village. The U.S. Olympic Committee has taken over a building, which looks like a warehouse from the outside, and has placed down mats, workout equipment, as well as a video area and other training offices. It provides the U.S. athletes their own workout area, right nearby the village, that is not shared with athletes from other countries. Right now, the workout area is being used by athletes from the judo, taekwondo and other teams who are already in town and preparing for competition. There are two mats down in the training facility now, one which is a judo mat and the other a wrestling mat. A series of stationary bikes, treadmills and weight training machines are also in the room. When the wrestling teams come to Sydney after their training is completed in the city of Canberra, they will use this training oasis. The focus of the experience will be at the venue, which for wrestling is at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbor. This location, which is right alongside the water in famous Darling Harbour, is well over a half hour's drive from the village. The athletes will be driven into the city in official Olympic buses (crossing three bridges on the highways) to get to the arena. There will be one lane left open on the roads for Olympic vehicles only during the Games, in order to allow for efficient transporting of athletes, they hope. Wrestling is in Halls 1 and 2, which will also house judo prior to the wrestling competition. Other halls will house weightlifting, boxing and fencing. Although the construction of the venue for wrestling and judo was not completely finished, we were able to visit the arena. The mats for judo were already in place, on a raised stage. The setup will be almost identical for wrestling, except in order to hold three wrestling mats, the stage will have to be extended. Geoff Marsh, the wrestling competition manager for the Games, says that things are in place to turn the judo facility into an Olympic-class wrestling venue in the one day that is between the two competitions. The spectator areas are large stands, which are on two sides of the platform, facing each other. There are no spectator areas on the two ends of the arena. Athletes will enter from their warmup area from one end of the arena, and will depart through a mixed zone on the other end. The arena is bright and colorful, and even without final details completed, already looks like a spectacular showcase for the sport. This will be the life of the athletes: living and eating in the Olympic Village, training at the High Performance Center, and traveling to and competing at the wrestling venue in the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Center in Darling Harbour. This is where they will prepare and then enter battle; this is where they will chase their Olympic dream. The photos sent with this story will give a glimpse of where your U.S. Olympic wrestlers will spend their time and energy in Sydney.
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