The 2006 World silver medalist in freestyle wrestling failed to qualify his weight, 60 kg (132 lbs), at the world championships, Pan-Am Games or at various other qualifying tournaments. He had some tough draws at these tournaments, but nonetheless, he (and another American wrestler) didn't get it done. Still, he wrestled tough through the Olympic trials in June, and though he was not expected to compete, he continued to train, cut weight, and do everything else that the Olympians were doing. He and his family even traveled to Beijing, though Zadick was not expected to wrestle.
Today, his hard work has been rewarded. Through a series of unfortunate events for the Bulgarian team, a spot has opened up at 60 kg. Team USA petitioned the IOC for the spot, and on the strength of his international experience, he was added to the tournament, less than a day before he needs to weigh in. Zadick doesn't care how he got there, he's just happy it happened. "It's been a lifelong dream of mine to wrestle in the Olympic Games," Zadick said. "I never stopped believing it would happen."
Opportunities like this don't come along very often, so hopefully Zadick will take advantage of it and beat some of the wrestlers who kept him out of the games in the first place.
Photo via Getty Images
- Mike Zadick