Finalists set for Day 1 of U.S. Olympic Team Trials

IOWA CITY – A U.S. Olympic Team Trials record 13,520 wrestling fans kicked off the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials on Saturday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Those seeking trips to the Olympic Games in London provided plenty of entertainment for the largest gathering of Americans to watch freestyle or Greco-Roman.

Nine weight classes – four in Greco, three in men’s freestyle, two in women’s freestyle – will be decided in tonight’s best-of-three Championship Series. Continue reading at

Alan Rice: Greco-Roman wrestling legend recalls historic Olympics

Even at 83, Alan Rice still looks like he could throw somebody across a wrestling ring. His forearms bulge like a construction worker’s, yet he shakes hands gently and shows off his dexterity on the brown, weathered baby-grand piano in his St. Paul living room. Built by the Schaff Bros. Co., the piano might be even older than Rice. The company went out of business during World War II.

“I enjoy the music of my youth,” said Rice, the godfather of Greco-Roman wrestling in Minnesota. “It means I play things that nobody knows – George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen. They were the good ones.” Continue reading at

At 18, an Olympian With an Upside; at 22, Forced to Retire

SHOREVIEW, Minn. — The enlarged cutout on the wall of the PINacle Wrestling School, in an industrial park here north of Minneapolis, shows Jake Deitchler’s finest moment in Greco-Roman wrestling. On his knees with fists clenched, Deitchler screams with joy after winning the 2008 Olympic trials at 146 pounds, making him the first high school wrestler in 32 years to qualify for the United States team.

Four years later, Deitchler looks about the same as the 18-year-old on the wall, though perhaps a little more muscular. He coaches grade-school wrestlers now, and when they kicked a soccer ball to warm up, Deitchler jumped in enthusiastically — at least until the ball caromed near his head. Then Deitchler had to remember to duck. Continue reading at

Brothers take hold of a wrestling dream

C.P. and Dustin Schlatter mirror each other in lots of ways, as close-knit brothers often do. Both wrestled for the Gophers with great success. Both have competed around the world, and both will take part in this weekend’s U.S. Olympic trials in Iowa City.

They live together, work out together and covet the same thing: to win a spot on the team that will compete in this summer’s London Olympics. But for a time, the Schlatters’ lives followed different paths, bringing them to one destination via two routes. Continue reading at

Ali Bernard to represent Minn. in women’s Olympic wrestling tryouts

WORTHINGTON, Minn. — An Olympic athlete from New Ulm resumes her quest for a gold medal this weekend.

Ali Bernard, 26, is the only woman from Minnesota to qualify for the U.S. women’s wrestling team tryouts in Iowa City Saturday and Sunday. She hopes to make it to the summer games in London and improve on her fifth-place showing at the 2008 Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic hopefuls — both men and women — will wrestle in front of near sell-out crowds of 14,000 plus fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Continue reading at

Fuenffinger competing at Olympic Trials

Augsburg College wrestler Mike Fuenffinger (FY, Hibbing, Minn.) will be competing this weekend at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials in Iowa City, Iowa, competing in the 55-kilogram (121-pound) division in Greco-Roman competition.

Competition in the 55-kg Greco-Roman weight class is on Saturday (4/21) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 6-to-9 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. There are 10 competitors in the 55-kg Greco-Roman weight class. In the most recent USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Senior national rankings (Nov. 22, 2011), Fuenffinger was ranked No. 9 nationally in the 55-kg class. Continue reading at

U.S. Olympic Team Trials Media Notes

Format: There will be nine weight classes contested each day. Each weight class is finished during one day. The 9:00 a.m. session is the Challenge Tournament, which determines the finalists in each weight. The 6:00 p.m. session is the Championship Series, which is a best-of-three series between the top two athletes and determines the Olympic Trials champion at that weight class. Here are the weights contested each day, with FS (men’s freestyle), GR (Greco-Roman) and W (women’s freestyle).

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