Friday, June 11, 2004

For Immediate Release

June 10, 2004

selected to compete at the 2004 Titan Games, Built By Home Depot

USA Wrestling has announced its Greco-Roman lineup for the 2004 Titan Games, Built by Home Depot, in Atlanta, Ga., June 18-20.

The team will include three 2000 Olympians and five of this year’s Olympians, including 2000 gold medalist Rulon Gardner (Cascade, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. and 2000 bronze medalist Garrett Lowney (Freedom, Wis./Minnesota Storm) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

The Titan Games will be the final chance for wrestling fans to see the 2004 U.S. Olympic Teams in all three styles compete before the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to wrestle Georgia and Spain at the Titan Games,” stated USA Wrestling National Greco-Roman Coach at 2004 Olympic Coach Steve Fraser. “They will provide us with formidable competition leading up to the Olympic Games this year.”

Gardner’s story is well known. After beating the previously undefeated Alexandre Karelin of Russia in the 2000 Olympic Games, he won a World title in 2001. In the winter of 2002, Gardner was involved in a snowmobile accident in Wyoming. He lost one toe due to frostbite after being stranded overnight in freezing temperatures.

Lowney was also an unexpected medalist in the 2000 Olympic Games. He won a bronze medal while still a freshman at the Univ. of Minnesota, before he had ever wrestled a collegiate match.

In 2002, Lowney was unable to compete in the World Championships due to a severe neck injury. Following surgery and an extensive rehabilitation process, doctors allowed him to compete this year.

Two-time Olympian Jim Gruenwald (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) will compete at 60 kg/132 lbs.

Gruenwald also had to overcome an injury to compete this year. He suffered a dislocated shoulder in the semifinals of the 2003 World Championships, forcing him to default to fourth place. Gruenwald placed eighth in the 2000 Olympic Games.

Also expected to compete for the U.S. are 2004 Olympic Team members Oscar Wood (Fountain, Colo./U.S. Army) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. and Brad Vering (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 84 kg/185 lbs.

Wood was a 2004 U.S. Nationals runner-up and a 2003 Armed Forces Championships silver medalist. He had not won a national title of any kind since 1994, when he won a Junior National title.

Vering has been the most consistent U.S. Greco-Roman wrestler over the last two years, placing fifth at the 2002 and 2003 World Championships. He was a 2000 NCAA champion at the Univ. of Nebraska and is the first Nebraska-born wrestler to ever earn a spot on a U.S. Olympic wrestling squad.

Lindsey Durlacher (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) will compete for the U.S. at 55 kg/121 lbs., taking the place of Olympian Dennis Hall (Plover, Wis./Sunkist Kids), who elected not to compete.

Durlacher placed fourth at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Wrestling. He is a three-time U.S. Nationals runner-up (2002-04).

Rounding out the U.S. Greco-Roman roster is Keith Sieracki (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) at 74 kg/163 lbs.

Sieracki has won four U.S. Nationals titles (1996, 2001-03) and six Armed Forces titles (1993, ’95, ’99, 2001-03).

The U.S. did not qualify for the Olympic Games at Sieracki’s weight class.

Durlacher, Gruenwald, Wood, Sieracki, Vering and Gardner all train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The coaches of the U.S. Greco-Roman squad will be 2004 Olympic coaches Fraser (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Shon Lewis (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Andy Seras (Sandy Hook, Conn.).

Wrestling will again be one of the featured sports at the Titan Games, along with boxing, fencing, weightlifting, judo, taekwondo and shot put. Philips Arena is serving as the competition venue and Centennial Olympic Park is serving as the backdrop for the shot put.

Wrestling will be contested on Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20.

The Titan Games will feature a “USA versus the World” format in dual and triangular meets. In men’s freestyle and men’s Greco-Roman, the teams competing against the United States will be the Republic of Georgia and Spain. In women’s freestyle, the U.S. will face Canada.

Last year, the Republic of Georgia won the team title at the Greco-Roman World Championships.

Titan Games, Built by Home Depot

June 18-20, 2004 at Atlanta, Ga.

U.S. Greco-Roman Wrestling Roster

55 kg/121 lbs. – Lindsey Durlacher, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

60 kg/132 lbs. – Jim Gruenwald, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Oscar Wood, Fountain, Colo. (U.S. Army)

74 kg/163 lbs. – Keith Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)

84 kg/185 lbs. – Brad Vering, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Garrett Lowney, Freedom, Wis. (Minnesota Storm)

120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Rulon Gardner, Cascade, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)

Coaches: Steve Fraser (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Shon Lewis (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Andy Seras (Sandy Hook, Conn.)

The Titan Games
A property of the U.S. Olympic Committee in partnership with the affiliated National Governing Bodies and hosted by the Atlanta Sports Council, The Titan Games, Built by Home Depot, is a multi-sport competition featuring the Olympic sports of boxing, fencing, judo, shot put, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling. The edgy, fast-paced mini-sports festival debuted in 2003 and will be final competition for more than 180 U.S. and international athletes on their Road to Athens. The Titan Games – It’s not all the Olympic Sports, Just the Most Painful Ones!

Matt Garvey

Director of Communications

Atlanta Sports Council | Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl