Great news for Iowa wrestling fans this morning. Mike Zadick, former Hawkeye competitor and current Hawkeye assistant coach, will compete in the Olympics after all!
Zadick won the Olympic Trials in June, but because the U.S. had not qualified the 60-kilogram weight class at any of a series of tournaments earlier in the year, he wasn’t going to be able to compete. In true Hawkeye fashion, however, Zadick kept training and working out as if he would wrestle, even traveling to Beijing with the rest of the team last week. He got his chance when the Bulgarian wrestler at 60kg was injured, leaving a spot to be filled. This happened about a week ago, and since there has been a cone of silence around the possibility of Zadick being named to the team, for whatever reason — even to the extent of message-board posts with Zadick’s name in them being deleted by the powers-that-be at USA Wrestling. Mike will wrestle Tuesday in Beijing (Monday night in Iowa time, but probably not aired on TV until Tuesday) You can watch live at nbcolympics.com IF your computer system fits the ridiculously constricted video-player guidelines. Mine doesn’t, not that I’m bitter or anything.
That makes 3 former Hawkeye wrestlers in the Olympics. Former Hawkeye and current assistant coach Doug Schwab qualified at 66kg (in a twist, by beating Mike Zadick’s brother Bill, a former world champion), and Steve Mocco, who wrestled part of his career at Iowa before transferring to the much-despised Oklahoma State Cowboys, will represent the U.S. at heavyweight. I know a lot of Hawkeye fans don’t consider Mocco to be “one of us” because of his defection, but I’ve heard that prior to the Olympics Trials he was training in Iowa City with head coach Tom Brands. If Brands and the Hawkeye family can forgive him, so can I.
Go Mike! Go Doug! Go Steve!