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Freestyle Team Continues to Prepare for Competition



Following Olympic processing and accreditation in San Diego, the U.S. Freestyle team arrived in Sydney on the morning of Thursday, September 14th. After check in to the athlete's village at Olympic Park and a short training session, the team did their best to stay awake for the rest of the day. The 18 hour time change from San Diego takes a lot of adjusting. USA Wrestling had made arrangements through the US Olympic Committee to have a training area completely separate from any other competing nation during the team's stay in Sydney. Regardless of jetlag, the workouts are very intense. Opening ceremonies were held on the evening of the 15th, and only a couple coaches marched with the team in the Opening Ceremony. All other coaches and training partners were able to attend the event. It was quite a show to say the least. After a somewhat late night, due to the Opening Ceremony, and a tough practice the next morning, the team ate lunch and loaded the bus to Canberra, Australia, home of the Australian Institute of Sport. The entourage seemed pretty worn out after a long bus ride and check-in at the Institute of Sport. They finally got a good night's sleep our first night in Canberra and are starting to adjust to the time change. The first three-day training cycle began on September 17. Two-a-day workouts have consisted of much organized drilling, matches and making sure that individual strengths and weaknesses are addressed for each athlete. All Olympic freestyle wrestlers have had access to great facilities to maintain cross training, strength and conditioning, etc. Bruce Burnett, US National Teams Head Coach commented, "I am pleased with the training facilities here at the Institute of Sport and I am pleased with the progress that we've made on the mat in our first three-day cycle. After a day's rest, we'll be ready for cycle #2." The second phase of training began September 21. The coaches met recently to discuss weight concerns, potential pairings issues and crucial FILA rules, along with numerous logistics regarding transportation, medical checks, weigh-in schedules, meals, etc. Scott Beck, the US Olympic Freestyle Team Leader, has been handling details and arrangements for the team, which has taken a lot of stress away from the coaching staff as well as the Olympians. The Freestyle wrestling competition is set to begin on Sept. 28.
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