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MX News Update 2024

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Five American wrestlers looking to secure a spot at the Olympics

World champion Zain Retherford is one of five Americans who will be in Turkey to secure a spot in the upcoming Olympic tournament.

Courtesy of USA Wrestling

Five wrestlers who conquered the U.S. Olympic team trials in April will compete this weekend in the crucial Olympic Games qualifier, which begins Thursday in Istanbul, Turkey.

It is the last chance for wrestlers to secure a spot for their country at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. Wrestlers must finish in the top three of their weight class to earn a spot for their country and their own spot in the Olympics.

Team USA is trying to qualify for the Olympics in two men’s freestyle weight classes (57 kg, 65 kg) and three Greco-Roman weight classes (60 kg, 67 kg, 77 kg). The United States has already secured spots in the Olympic tournament in four other men’s freestyle weight classes and three Greco-Roman weight classes, along with all six women’s freestyle weight classes.

American Zain Retherford, the reigning 70kg world champion, secured the right to travel to Istanbul by claiming first place at 65kg at the US Olympic team trials, dethroning 2023 world team member Nick Lee in the best-of- three championship series.

Retherford is a two-time 70kg world medalist and earned silver in 2022 before topping the podium in Belgrade, Serbia, last summer. Additionally, he made two U.S. World Team 65kg victories earlier in his career at the senior level and was the U17 World Champion in 2012. Retherford is a three-time NCAA champion for Penn State.

Three-time world age group champion Spencer Lee is on the mat at 57kg in the men’s freestyle, who topped the 57kg category at the U.S. Olympic team trials with a championship run from 2020 Olympic bronze medalist and former world champion Thomas Gilman.

Lee won world gold medals for the USA in three consecutive years (2014-2016), once at the U17 level and twice in the U20 age category. He took seven years away from the international circuit to focus on his collegiate career at Iowa, where he was a three-time NCAA champion.

Last November, Lee returned to the international stage with a gold medal outing at the Bill Farrell Memorial International. He followed it up with gold medals at the U.S. Senior Nationals and Pan American Championships.

Three teammates from the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program are leading the Greco-Roman efforts in Turkey: Dalton Roberts, Ellis Coleman and Kamal Bey.

After a solid three-match championship series victory over two-time Olympian Ildar Hafizov at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Roberts cemented himself as the top man at 60kg for Team USA. Roberts qualified for the U.S. senior world team in 2018 and 2021 and was a four-time world age group team member.

Coleman, a 2012 Olympian in London, England, completed his resurgence to the top of the Greco-Roman ladder by upsetting Olympian and reigning world team member Alejandro Sancho of Tokyo in three incredibly exciting 67kg fights at the Olympic Trials .

A two-time U20 world bronze medalist in 2010-2011, followed by an Olympic appearance at age 20, Coleman was once considered the future face of Greco-Roman wrestling in the US. He made four US World Teams after London through 2019, but has not achieved an international result since. His first tournament after a five-year layoff came at the Armed Forces Championships in March, which he won, then followed by the Olympic Trials.

Three-time World Team member Bey has controlled the 77kg weight class domestically for the past three years. He gets the nod for Istanbul after beating top challenger Aliaksandr Kikinou in the Olympic Trials championship series in back-to-back matches.

The third time could be the charm for Bey, who has competed in the previous two Olympic qualifying events in Paris for Team USA. He finished in 10th place at the Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, falling five places short of Olympic qualifying status. Additionally, Bey finished one win short of qualifying the weight at the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier in Acapulco, Mexico, falling in the semifinals.

Bey is a four-time World Team member for the USA and earned a gold medal at the 2017 U20 World Championships in Tampere, Finland. He was a gold medalist of the 2023 Pan American Games and Pan American Championships.

Follow Team USA

Greco-Roman will kick off the festivities on Thursday, followed by the women’s freestyle on Friday and the men’s freestyle on Saturday. Each style wrestles for two days. A full schedule of events can be found below.

US audiences can watch the event live every day on Flowrestling.com starting at 10am local time/3am (ET). Brackets and real-time results are available on UWW Arena.

Event planning
Thursday May 9
10:00 AM (3:00 AM, EST) – Preliminaries (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg)
6:00 PM (11:00 AM, EST) – Semifinals (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg)
GR: Greco-Roman; WFS: Women’s Freestyle; MFS: men’s freestyle

Friday May 10
10:00 AM (3:00 AM, EST) – Repechage (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg), Preliminaries (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg)
4:45 PM (9:45 AM, EST) – Bronze Medal Matches (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg)
6:00 PM (11:00 AM, EST) – Semifinals (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg)
8:30 PM (1:30 PM, EST) – True Bronze Medal Matches (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg)

Saturday May 11
10:00 AM (3:00 AM, EST) – Repechage (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg), Preliminaries (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)
4:45 PM (9:45 AM, EST) – Bronze Medal Matches (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg)
6:00 PM (11:00 AM, EST) – Semifinals (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)
8:30 PM (1:30 PM, EST) – True Bronze Medal Games (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg)

Sunday May 12
3:00 PM (8:00 AM, EST) – Repechage (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)
4:45 PM (9:45 AM, EST) – Bronze Medal Matches (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)
6:00 PM (11:00 AM, EST) – True Bronze Medal Matches (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)
*All times listed are local to Istanbul, Turkey, which is seven hours ahead of US Eastern Time.