Medal Eludes Bisek in Rio

By Craig Sesker, For The Guillotine

RIO DE JANEIRO – Andy Bisek arrived in Brazil confident he could reach the top of the Olympic medal podium.

But the native of Chaska, Minn., will leave South America empty-handed.

Bisek dropped a tough quarterfinal match and failed to medal as the Olympic Games wrestling competition kicked off Sunday before 9,000 fans at Carioca Arena 2.

Bisek, 29, a two-time world bronze medalist, dropped a 2-0 quarterfinal match to Croatia’s Bozo Starcevic in Greco-Roman wrestling at 165 pounds. Continue reading

Provisor, Smith receive draws for second day of Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling on Monday

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – The final two U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers, Ben Provisor (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 85 kg/187.75 lbs. and Robby Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 130 kg/286 lbs. have weighed in and received their first-round draw for the Olympic Games, which continue on Monday in Carioca 2 Arena.

Provisor, a two-time Olympian, is in the bottom half of the bracket, in the third quarter-bracket. He opens against 2015 World silver medalist Rustam Assakalov of Uzbekistan. Assakalov, as the reigning World silver medalist, received the No. 2 seed, and was placed in the top spot of the bottom half-bracket. Assakalov has won two Asian Championships gold medals.

If Provisor wins his first bout, he would face the winner of the match between Ravinder Khatri of India and Maksim Manukyan of Armenia, a 2013 University World Games runner-up. Continue reading at

Americans Bisek and Thielke fall in quarterfinals on first day of Olympic wrestling in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO – Americans Jesse Thielke and Andy Bisek took the mat for day one of Greco-Roman competition at the 2016 Olympic Games, and both men suffered similar fates, falling in the quarterfinal round and not qualifying for the repechage.

Both U.S. Olympians won their first round bouts on Sunday morning inside Carioca Arena 2 to qualify for the quarterfinals. Thielke picked up four quick turns to take out El Mahadi Messaoudi of Morocco by technical fall, 8-0, while Bisek held on for a tight 1-0 decision over Yurisandy Hernandez Rios of Cuba with the only point being scored off a caution.

In the 59 kg quarterfinals Thielke fell to four-time World medalist and two-time Olympic silver medalist Rovshan Bayramov of Azerbaijan, 9-0. After a scoreless first minute on the feet, Bayramov was awarded top position and converted on multiple turns to end the bout. Continue reading at

Bisek, Thielke receive draws for first day of Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling on Sunday

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – The first two U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers, two-time World bronze medalist Andy Bisek (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 75 kg/165 lbs. and Jesse Thielke (Germantown, Wis./New York AC) at 59 kg/130 lbs. weighed in and received their first-round draw for the Olympic Games, which begin on Sunday in Carioca 2 Arena.

Bisek is in the top half of the bracket, in the second quarter-bracket. He opens against Yurisandi Hernandez Rios of Cuba, who won the 2016 Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier in Frisco, Texas. Bisek says he has beaten Hernandez three times in the past

“Consistent is the word for Andy. The guy is just the consummate professional. He does not mess around. He goes in and gets the job done. He recovers well. He trains hard. He does everything that is asked of him and then some. He goes home after that and takes care of his wife and his kids. He is a family man. What a professional! He is ready. I love the way that Andy is firing right now. Everything is clicking for him. He still has a smile on his face. He got his weight down in a half hour. I expect him to have great success,” said National Greco-Roman Coach Matt Lindland. Continue reading at

Before You Take Off: Andy Bisek Reflects On His Career Prior To Rio

“The thing about Andy is that he’s kind of a quiet guy, but he pays attention to everything.” So says Patrick Smith, Minnesota Storm stablemate and friend of US Olympian Andy Bisek. I hadn’t wanted to bother Bisek this close to the Rio Games. Time is tight, he has a family, and plus, he was getting blitzed by every other media outlet in the country. At the same juncture, I couldn’t not have him here officially. It just did not feel correct to go on with all of this Olympic coverage without him being appropriately featured.

At any rate, I hadn’t talked with Andy since Beat the Streets and in that interim, he has been covered up and down by everyone else everywhere else. And because I refused to go ahead and ask the same trite questions as other outlets, I also wanted to make sure whatever I asked Bisek would let people catch a glimpse at why he stands out the way he does. The way Smith and I saw it, if you’re here reading about Andy, then you already know he’s a superbly talented athlete and Olympic medal contender. Belaboring that point after a while helps no one, making coming up with a direction that does Bisek the human, justice, the priority. Continue reading at

‘I can be the best in the world’

The road to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games was not an easy one for Greco-Roman wrestler Andy Bisek.

A shot at qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in London, Bisek, the No. 2 seed in his weight class, lost his opening match, wiping him from U.S. Wrestling program, as well as the provided monthly stipend and health insurance.

Injuries also took its toll on Bisek, a 2004 Chaska High School graduate. Neck issues have kept him off the mats for months multiple times, last in 2013. Continue reading at

Minneapolis doctor Dennis Koslowski walked in these Olympians’ shoes

Dennis Koslowski used to brag that he hit the athletic trifecta. “I was slow, small and weak,’’ he said.

Koslowski grew up in Watertown, S.D. He became a non-scholarship Division III wrestler at Minnesota-Morris. He won an Olympic bronze medal in Greco-Roman wrestling as a heavyweight in 1988 and a silver in 1992. “I used to hate the phrase ‘God-given talent,’ ” he said. “Like you dropped from the womb an Olympic wrestler. I never even won a high school championship. I was a creeper.’’ Continue reading at

Olympic wrestler Andy Bisek’s mettle is on display

Given Andy Bisek’s weighty credentials — including two bronze medals from the world championships and a No. 5 world ranking — it seems reasonable to wonder whether he feels any pressure going into the Rio Olympics. Ask him about it, and you’ll see a knowing smile form under his famously bushy mustache.

Bisek, a Greco-Roman wrestler from Chaska, knows the burden of genuine stress. In 2012, a defeat at the Olympic trials cost him his place on the U.S. national team, along with his monthly stipend and health insurance. His wife, Ashley, was expecting their first child. Then a serious neck injury kept him out of competition for several months, leaving him unable to earn any prize money.

With a family to support and few options, Bisek began working at a liquor store in Colorado Springs, squeezing five shifts a week between twice-daily wrestling workouts. It left him exhausted, but not defeated. “I’d get to that afternoon practice, and I’d be so wiped out,” Bisek recalled. “My feet would be on fire from standing and running all day on a tile floor. And I thought, ‘If I can handle this, I’m going to be just fine when it comes to tournament time.’ ” Continue reading at