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Top News Stories... moving to USOC website platform with new look and functionality

This week, will move to the USOC platform, with a new look, new functionality, but with the same favorite features....

Terry Shockley named Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Shockley will succeed long-time chairman Jim Keen. Sr. as Chairman of the Board....

Iowa's Tony Ramos determined to finish career with NCAA title

The Hawkeye senior will battle Virginia Tech's Devin Carter in the NWCA All-Star Classic on Saturday....

NCAA announces finalist cities for its championships for 2014-18, including wrestling at all levels

Cleveland, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia & St. Louis are Div. I finalists. Div. II and III finalists also announced....

Wrestling star Sandy Bacher battles in her third Olympic Games in judo

One of the greatest women's wrestlers in the United States competed in the Olympic Games today, but alas, it was in judo. Sandy Bacher, a 1999 Women's World Wrestling Champion, was in her third Olympics as a judo player. She has been competing, and winning, in both sports at the same time for the last six years. Had the IOC allowed women's wrestling in the 2000 Olympics, Sandy might have been competing in Sydney in both sports. That would have been big news in the media, for sure. Instead, she is just one of 23 judo players in the 70 kg division this year. Sandy has had to balance her judo and wrestling lives carefully in recent years. However, her choices were easy this year. With only judo in the Olympics, all of her decisions were based upon preparing for judo. Sandy, the 2000 U.S. Nationals wrestling champion at 68 kg, didn't challenge for the spot on Women's World team because of her judo duties. Kristie Marano dropped to the weight class and won the gold medal for USA Wrestling. Now we have two World Champions in wrestling at the same weight class. Sandy has been telling the media all week that once women's wrestling is a medal sport in the Olympic Games, she will concentrate more on wrestling and try to make the 2004 Olympics in wrestling. Three Olympics in judo is enough. However, like thousands of other women wrestlers around the world, she is still waiting and wondering. The women wrestlers have heard this talk that it will be in before, many expecting that 1996 would be the time. Until it's in an official press release from the IOC, the athletes are still skeptical. Her first fight was against Cath Arlove of Australia. Ironically, Sandy has battled her in both judo and wrestling. When Sandy won a bronze medal at the 1998 World Wrestling Championships, one of the opponents she beat was Cath Arlove. Obviously, Sandy isn't the only athlete here in the judo draw that could have been an Olympian in wrestling as well. Sandy won that fight, scoring the best throw, then pinning Arlove for 25 seconds at the end of the fight, worth an ippon (instant victory). Her next two bouts were very challenging. In the quarterfinals, Bacher lost a battle with Sibelis Veranes of Cuba, the 1999 World Champion. Veranes scored the bout's only throw, a yuko, with 2:35 left. Veranes would go on and win the Olympic gold medal later in the evening. In her first repechage match (what wrestling people would call the wrestle-backs), Bacher was defeated by Yvonne Vansart of Germany, who scored the only two throws of the bout. The second loss eliminated Sandy from the tournament. It was one of Sandy's best Olympic performances, even though the statistics will show a 1-2 record. Said judo coach Eddie Liddie: "Sandy fought her tail off. I'm proud of her. She makes no excuses. She's fighting tough. In the matches, she was just missing. She's my girl. I'm very proud of her." After her final bout, Sandy spent a long time in the mixed zone being interviewed by her local newspaper in San Jose. She was upbeat and friendly, in spite of falling short of her dreams. Said Sandy: "I fought well. I have no excuses. (Coach) Eddie Liddie is great. He put together the best game plan he could for me. He helped me beat the Australian and I was happy about that. It would have been an upset if I won here. The last Olympics, I didn't feel right. This time, I came out ready to fight." Sandra Bacher is a world-class judo player. Her strong effort today, in spite of falling short of the medal rounds, proved that she belongs here. However, it is a little sad that she was unable to compete here in her best sport, which is wrestling, no doubt. Sandra Bacher has won a World gold medal, a World silver medal and a World bronze medal in wrestling. Even though she has been a judo expert her whole life, she has a knack for wrestling that makes her a true star. Yet, she and so many other deserving women wrestlers around the world are not competing in Sydney because the IOC has dragged its feet adding women's wrestling to the program. Watching the women judo players here, there is no doubt that the women wrestlers in the world have progressed to this level of competition. Wrestlers belong on this Olympic stage, alongside the judo players, the taekwondo athletes, the weight lifters and all the others. Had women's wrestling been in these Games, Sandra Bacher might be going home with an Olympic medal. She will try to make the next Olympics in wrestling, if given the chance by the IOC. She'll be well into her 30's by then, and most probably past her prime as an athlete. There is no guarantee that she will be able to make the 2004 team if wrestling gets Olympic status. This may have been Sandy's time in wrestling. Instead, she has another Olympic judo memory, and the nagging wonder if she'll get her deserved shot in wrestling.
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