Former Gophers wrestler Pat Smith is peaking as 2020 Olympic Trials approach

If he had a bigger ego, Pat Smith might have been insulted. Instead, the former Gophers wrestler from Chaska was simply amused by Kamal Bey’s boast.

Before their bout at last spring’s Final X tournament, Bey compared himself to a Ferrari — and said Smith reminded him of a Honda Civic. It didn’t bother Smith at all, partly because a Civic would have been a major upgrade for him. At the time, he was driving a decrepit 2001 PT Cruiser, one that was headed for the junkyard before he bought it from a co-worker with the $80 he had in his wallet.

“It’s not quite a Honda Civic,” Smith said, chuckling. “But I think it fits me well.”

Smith got the last laugh, beating Bey in a best-of-three series at Final X to win a place on the U.S. Greco-Roman team for wrestling’s world championships. He begins competition Monday in the 77-kilogram weight class (169.8 pounds) in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. The nine-day tournament, which starts Saturday, is the first chance for countries to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Continue reading at startribune.com

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