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Bardis named Team Leader for U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman team, and will host the Olympic Team for training camp at The Cooler, May 14-24

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Greco-Roman Team Leader John Bardis, and logo of The CoolerJohn Bardis named Team Leader for U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team for Tokyo Games,

and will host the Olympic Team for pre-Tokyo training camp at The Cooler in Alpharetta, Ga., May 14-24

Long-time wrestling leader John Bardis of Alpharetta, Ga. has been named Team Leader for the U.S. Olympic Team in Greco-Roman wrestling for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. The wrestling competition at the Tokyo Games is set for August 1-8, 2021.

This will be the second time that Bardis will be Greco-Roman Team Leader for the Olympic Games, after serving in the same role for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Bardis was the Team Leader for the U.S. Greco-Roman team for the 2005-2008 Olympic cycle, including the historic 2007 U.S. Greco-Roman World Team, the first and only USA Greco-Roman Team to win a Senior World Team title.

As part of his leadership role within USA Wrestling, Bardis is hosting the U.S. Olympic Team in all three disciplines of wrestling at The Cooler, his state-of-the-art skating and athletics center in Alpharetta, Ga., May 14-24. Included will be the Olympic athletes in men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman, along with their coaches and training partners. It will be the first time that the complete wrestling team will train together prior to heading to Tokyo to represent our nation at the Olympic Games.

This will also serve as the training camp for the U.S. wrestling team in all three disciplines that will compete at the 2021 Pan American Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala, May 27-30. All of the members of the U.S. Olympic Team in wrestling are expected to compete in the Pan American Championships, as well as other elite U.S. wrestlers in each discipline.

“It is an honor to be associated with USA Wrestling,” said Bardis. “I have had a long-standing engagement and love of the sport. It is truly an honor to be associated with this U.S. Olympic Team. In total, this is arguably the most talented and capable team we have ever had in the long and storied history of American wrestling at the Olympic Games.”

More about the USA Wrestling Training Camp

The USA Wrestling National Team Training Camp at The Cooler in Alpharetta will be a key preparation camp for both the 2021 Pan American Championships in Guatemala in May, as well as the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan in August.

Currently, the U.S. has qualified to compete in 15 of the 18 weight classes at the Tokyo Olympic Games, including six women’s freestyle athletes, five men’s freestyle athletes and four Greco-Roman athletes. This team was determined at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Wrestling in Fort Worth, Texas, April 2-3.

Highlighting the Tokyo Olympic athletes are 2016 Olympic champions Helen Maroulis and Kyle Snyder, five-time World champion Adeline Gray, two-time World champion Kyle Dake and World champions Tamyra Mensah-Stock, David Taylor and Jacarra Winchester. Maroulis, Snyder, Gray and Ildar Hafizov have competed in past Olympic Games. World medalists Thomas Gilman and Sarah Hildebrandt on the team, as well as age-group World medalists Gable Steveson, Kayla Miracle and G'Angelo Hancock. Other Tokyo Olympians include Alejandro Sancho and John Stefanowicz.

The U.S. Olympic Team in wrestling could increase by three more athletes, based upon the results of the World Olympic Games Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria, May 6-9. The winners at 77 kg and 130 kg in Greco-Roman and in 65 kg in men’s freestyle from the U.S. Olympic Team Trials will compete in Sofia seeking to qualify the USA for Tokyo in their weight classes.

There will be eight mats set up for training at The Cooler, and the Olympic athletes and their training partners will have access to a first-rate weight training center and other training amenities at the facility. The USA Wrestling team will have access to its own dining facility in a restaurant at the Cooler, and receive personalized nutritional meals served by respected chefs from the local area.

Bardis is getting extensive support for the training camp from a large team of local businesses and leaders, including the Wrestlers In Business Network – Atlanta Chapter, Jackson Healthcare, Vizient, DB Integrations, ShareMD, Hire Heroes USA and the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Thanks to the efforts of Steve Cannon, CEO of the AMB Group, and also an Outstanding American in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the U.S. wrestling team will be special guests for the MLS professional soccer match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium between the Atlanta United FC and CF Montreal on Saturday, May 15.

There will be media opportunities available with the Olympic wrestlers, coaches and leaders during the training camp. Interested media should contact Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling at or via cell phone at 719-659-9637.

More about Olympic Greco-Roman Team Leader John Bardis

Bardis served on the board of USA Wrestling from 1997-2011 and on numerous committees within the organization. He was Team Leader for the Greco-Roman during the 2005-2008 Olympic quadrennium, which included three World Championships and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. During his tenure, Bardis was well respected by the athletes and coaches in the Greco-Roman program for his hands-on approach and commitment to helping the team achieve the highest level of success.

Bardis helped the U.S. Greco-Roman program achieve its first and only Senior Greco-Roman World Team Title, when Team USA placed first at the 2007 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.

He served as Director of Development and Finance for the Committee for the Preservation for Olympic Wrestling (CPOW), which led the successful effort in 2013 to retain wrestling’s place on the program of the Olympic Games. With Bardis’ support, CPOW raised well over $1 million to fund all aspects of the campaign to Keep Olympic Wrestling.

Currently, Bardis serves as a member of USA Wrestling’s COVID-19 Advisory Committee, a group of respected experts in health, science, medicine, government and other areas which has advised USA Wrestling and the sport on all aspects of its activities during the pandemic.

Bardis was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013 as an Outstanding American. The Hall of Outstanding Americans demonstrates wrestling's pride in those who have used the disciplines of the sport to launch notable careers in other walks of life, such as science and technology, business and industry, government and the military, and the arts and humanities.

His involvement in the Olympic movement goes beyond wrestling, in his position with the board of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). He has also been closely involved with the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, as a coach and leader. Bardis was a member of the six-person Presidential Delegation who attended the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea on behalf of the President of the United States.

Bardis also organized and sponsored numerous activities for the wrestling community during the 1995 World Championships and the 1996 Olympics that were held in nearby Atlanta, Ga.

He also provided leadership and support for a USA Wrestling program which has provided a championship ring to every Senior-level wrestler who has ever won an Olympic Games gold medal or a World Championships gold medal for the United States. These rings were first presented during the 2003 World Championships in Madison Square Garden in New York City, and have continued to be provided to U.S. World and Olympic champions ever since.

He has used his skills in public speaking for many important wrestling events, including “An Evening With Legends,” held alongside the 2003 World Championships in New York City, as well as the 1984 Olympic Team Reunion which was held alongside the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa.

Bardis joined wrestling at the age of 10, finishing second in the Illinois high school state championships and winning a Junior National title in Greco-Roman. His college career began at the University of Wisconsin, but he chose to transfer to the University of Arizona, where he won a Western Athletic Conference championship. He also placed third in the 1976 Greco-Roman Olympic Trials.

Bardis has been a leader in industry and government service during his career. He served as the Assistant Secretary for Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a key position in the Trump Administration. HHS, which employs over 78,000 professionals, is the largest government department in the world.

A CEO for four companies specializing in health care, Bardis has often credited his wrestling background for playing an enormous role in his success in business and in life.

Bardis earned a bachelor’s degree in business at Arizona and began his career in healthcare with American Hospital Supply and Baxter International where he climbed to various senior management positions, including Vice President of the Baxter Operating Room Division. He left Baxter in 1987 to become president of Kinetic Concepts, departing in 1992.

From 1992-1997, Bardis was President and CEO of TheraTx, Inc. INC. Magazine named TheraTx the second-fastest growing public company in America in 1995 and named Bardis its “Entrepreneur of the Year,” for growing the company from $15 million to over $500 million in five years.

By June of 1999, Bardis founded MedAssets, an innovative company that partners with hospitals and health systems to enhance their financial strength. He served as Chairman, President, and CEO since the company’s inception. Bardis retired from his leadership of MedAssets prior to moving into public service. He currently serves as Chairman and CEO of ShareMD.

Bardis is the founder and Chairman of Hire Heroes USA, the nation’s largest veteran job placement organization. In 2015, he was appointed to the Strategic Planning Committee of the board of Scripps Health in San Diego, CA, and to the Board of Advisors of Jackson Healthcare in Alpharetta, Ga. Bardis also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. He also serves on the global board for Cancer Treatment Centers of America.