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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....

Iowa's Tony Ramos determined to finish career with NCAA title

The Hawkeye senior will battle Virginia Tech's Devin Carter in the NWCA All-Star Classic on Saturday....

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

Cleveland, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia & St. Louis are Div. I finalists. Div. II and III finalists also announced....



U.S. Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Team mini-features



DOUGLAS THE ONLY PAST OLYMPIAN - Only one member of the U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling team has competed at a previous Olympic Games - Melvin Douglas, the 213.75-pounder. He placed seventh at 198 pounds at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He is also the oldest member of the U.S. wrestling team in either style. (He turned 37 on August 21). Some of his teammates call him "Grandpa." Melvin has won more World medals than any other member of the team, with a World gold medal (1993), a World silver medal (1989) and two World bronze medals (1994, 1995). Douglas took off the entire 1999 season to refresh himself for the Olympic Trials, and he responded with a successful season. TWIN BROTHER SEEKS HIS OWN GOLD - Twin brothers Terry and Tom Brands were among the best wrestlers in the world in the mid-1990's. Terry won two World titles (1993 and 1995) and Tom was a 1993 World Champion. However, in the 1996 Olympic Trials, Tom made the U.S. team, but Terry lost to eventual champion Kendall Cross in the Olympic Trials. Tom went on to a gold medal in Atlanta, and retired from competition. Now, four years later, after a number of injuries and a comeback from retirement, Terry Brands qualified for the U.S. Olympic team at 127.75 pounds, and will seek a gold medal of his own. Three sets of U.S. brothers have won Olympic gold medals (John and Ben Peterson, Dave and Mark Schultz, Ed and Lou Banach), but only the Petersons won the gold medals during different Olympic Games. WORLD CHAMPION SEEKS RETURN TO THE TOP - When Sammie Henson won the World gold medal in freestyle wrestling in 1998 at 119 pounds, he became a top hopeful for a gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games. However, his 1999 season included a leg injury and other challenges and he was unable to make the U.S. World team. Henson returned for the 2000 season healthy and focused, and qualified for the U.S. Olympic team with an outstanding performance at the Olympic Team Trials in Dallas. Henson, known for his intense and passionate competitive spirit, has learned to control his emotions and turn them into an asset and strength on the mat. WORLD CHAMPION BEATER - To make the 2000 U.S. Olympic team at 286 pounds, Kerry McCoy had to defeat the reigning World Champion in his weight class, fellow U.S. star Stephen Neal, the 1999 gold medalist and the athlete named 1999 Freestyle Wrestler of the Year by the international wrestling federation FILA. McCoy defeated Neal at the U.S. Nationals in April, and came back with an impressive two-match sweep of Neal during the Olympic Team Trials in June. Entering the Olympics, McCoy has a perfect 18-0 record for the year, including a win over 1998 World Champion Alexis Rodriguez of Cuba. Based upon his success, McCoy was chosen as one of the athletes in Sports Illustrated's "golden" issue, where he was painted gold from head to toe. KOLAT SEEKS REDEMPTION - Cary Kolat, the U.S. star at 138.75 pounds, has faced perhaps more adversity on the international level than any member of the U.S. team. In 1997, Kolat qualified for the World finals against Abbas Haji-Kenari of Iran and fell behind early in the match. Haji-Kenari repeatedly took breaks to tie his shoes and catch his breath, and held off Kolat's attack to win the gold. The international federation has since passed a rule which requires wrestlers to tape their shoelaces so they could not become untied. In the 1998 World Championships, Kolat defeated Serafim Barzakov of Bulgaria in an early match, but the bout was protested and reversed, giving the win to Barzakov. (Barzakov won the gold and Kolat the bronze). In 1999, Kolat beat past World Champion Elbrus Tedeev of Ukraine in the semifinals, but the match was protested and reversed. Under new rules, the bout was re-wrestled and Kolat was defeated. (Tedeev won the gold, and Kolat was fourth). In the last three years, Kolat has placed second, third and fourth in the World Championships, with no breaks. Will Sydney be the tournament where the tide turns to his favor? MCILRAVY SEEKS TO CLIMB FINAL STEP TO GOLD - Lincoln McIlravy, the U.S. star at 152 pounds, has won World medals the last two years at his weight class. He was a World bronze medalist in 1998 and a World silver medalist in 1999. His goal is to climb the final step on the podium to a gold medal in Sydney. His chief rival could be 1999 World Champion Daniel Igali of Canada, who upset McIlravy in the finals of the 1999 World meet. McIlravy had beaten Igali the first three times they met, but Igali has claimed the last two wins. Igali, Canada's first World champion in wrestling, was named Canada's top Olympic athlete for the 1999 year. Many expect the gold-medal quest in this weight class to be a border war between the United States and Canada. THE LONE STAR'S LONE STAR - Texas has not been known as a state with a long and rich wrestling history, but when Amarillo native Brandon Slay discovered that the U.S. Olympic Trials for wrestling were scheduled for Dallas, his goal was to make some history of his own. Slay, a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete in Colorado Springs, set a goal to become the first native Texan to make the U.S. Olympic team in wrestling. He entered the season as the No. 6 ranked wrestler in his weight class, 167.5 pounds, and received a No. 7 seed at the U.S. Nationals in April. Slay responded by winning the U.S. National title. In the Olympic Trials finals, Slay, a Univ. of Pennsylvania graduate, faced his college assistant coach, Brian Dolph, and claimed a two-match sweep to make the team. A new star was born in Texas, a major boost for the wrestling program in this emerging wrestling state which hosted the most successful wrestling trials ever held. MOVING ON UP TO VICTORY - The biggest step forward in Charles Burton's wrestling career came when he decided to move up in weight class just over two years ago. After a successful career at Boise State Univ., where he placed third at the NCAA Championships, Burton entered the international wrestling scene at 167.5 pounds, where he was moderately successful. For the 1999 season, he made the jump to 187.25 pounds, building himself up in strength and concentrating more on his technique than his weight management. Burton quickly shot up to the No. 2 ranking in his new weight class behind 1997 World Champion Les Gutches. He placed second to Gutches at the 1999 World Team Trials and the 2000 U.S. Nationals. In a Special Wrestle-off against Gutches in Fargo, N.D., in July, Burton made the final step forward, beating Gutches two matches to one for the position on the U.S. team. NEW JOBS - Two members of the U.S. Olympic freestyle team took new assistant coaching positions this summer after long stints at their alma maters. Terry Brands, a two-time NCAA champion at Iowa and an assistant coach in the program, accepted the assistant coach position at the Univ. of Nebraska under new head coach Mark Manning, who is also on the U.S. Olympic coaching staff. Kerry McCoy, a two-time NCAA champion for Penn State Univ., became a new assistant coach at Lehigh Univ. under head coach Greg Strobel, who is also a co-head coach for the Olympic team. Athletes aren't the only key people on the U.S. team who have taken new jobs. Bruce Burnett, USA Wrestling's Freestyle National Coach, has been hired as the new head coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, and will assume his new duties full-time after the Olympics are over. THREE MINDS ARE BETTER THAN ONE - USA Wrestling selected three co-head coaches to work with the 2000 U.S. Olympic freestyle team, the first time in the history of the sport in the USA that the head coaching duties have been shared. The group effort includes John Smith, a two-time Olympic champion as an athlete, Dan Gable, and Olympic champion and two-time Olympic head coach, and Greg Strobel, the assistant coach of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team. It brings together coaches of three of the most storied wrestling programs on the college level, the Univ. of Iowa, Oklahoma State and Lehigh. This won't be the first time they have worked as a three-man team; at the 1999 World Championships in Ankara, Turkey, the three were
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