USA Wrestling

Sep 23 Quotes from Greco Roman Wrestlers

By Jaimie McNab | Sept. 23, 2000, midnight (ET)

U.S. Team Quotes from Rulon Garnder & Coaches after Hisotric Win Over Alexander Kareline

From mixed zone interviews and his official press conference at the venue, September 27 Rulon Gardner "I don't know where to start. Coming from where I came from, and the life I have, being from a farm, I learned don't ever quit, always look forward. I've always been an underdog from Wyoming. I had the support of the team and the coaches. I can't believe I am here. The Lord has blessed me so much." (about wrestling Kareline before) "What it did was frighten me a little. To feel the strength he had, it's like pushing a horse. In 1997, he beat me 5-0. I have been working on my defense. I felt calm. I don't feel like I have been so ready to wrestle in my life." "The key was knowing that I was strong enough to stop him from executing his lift. I didn't want him to run me over onto my back, like he does to some people when he starts that move. I'd rather have him throw me than let him take me over to my back." "At the Olympic Training Center, we work on the clinch every day. In the semifinals, I actually lost a clinch. In this clinch, I could feel he got the advantage of me. After we battled, I felt good about four seconds before the scramble. I knew he broke first. I was hoping that they didn't look at the film and give him the point." (about how strong Kareline is) "Go on a dairy farm, get up against a cow and push. That's what it's like. But he's a little bit quicker." "The last few years, it was a struggle to make the U.S. team. We have five or six heavyweights who could place at an Olympics. I felt successful when I got to the championship match here. When I go out to wrestle, my goal is to perform to my best." "I had heard there was a great Russian wrestler. I think it was in 1992. I didn't really know about him until 1995. When did I think I could beat him? About 10 minutes ago. There is a certain awe about him. Going in, I knew all I can do is my best." U.S. Head Coach Dan Chandler "Yeah, baby! He wrestled a perfect match. He had to do that to win. He beat the greatest wrestler of all time. Our plan was don't get turned, and get him tired on his feet. Rulon fought with him toe to toe. This is a historic day for USA Greco-Roman." USA Wrestling National Coach Steve Fraser (the first U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman gold medalist) "I felt for a long time that Rulon could beat him. He had to wrestle the perfect match and get him tired. Kareline got tired and that neutralized his offense. It took months and years of practice and training to get to this point. He was relaxed, and wanted to make it exciting. Nobody in the world can outpummel and outcondition Rulon. Rulon wasn't intimidated because, one, he wrestled him before, and, two, the wrestled a ton of tough people." "This means so much for our Greco-Roman program. We've had a lot of struggles in Greco-Roman. Our freestyle team is so great, and it hasn't been easy for our Greco-Roman team. For Rulon to beat one of the greatest wrestlers of all time means so much to Greco-Roman in America, and to me personally."

U.S. Olympic Team Quotes - Main Press Center

From Wednesday, September 27 Rulon Gardner, Afton, Wyo., shocked the Greco Roman wrestling world Wednesday by defeating Alexandre Kareline of Russia for the gold medal at 130kg. Kareline hadn't been beaten in 13 years. QUOTES "The match was based on a lot of discussion on strategy. I think I had about 10 different people tell what I had to do. We watched some field. There are so many different aspects of wrestling this guy (Kareline) presents. We wanted to make sure we covered all the bases. '' "I felt pretty comfortable that he couldn't turn me. But you don't want to feel too comfortable because that's when you get into trouble. I knew if he got a point on me, he'd win the match. I just tried to push on him like I push people. I think at the end, he got tired. He wrestled three matches and I wrestled just two.'' "I didn't actually think I could beat him. All I knew was that I'd go out with my head down and work forward. I grew up on a farm and I always learned that when you work, you go forward. I didn't think I was going to win, but I was going to work as hard as I could. When I wrestled him the first time in 1997, he threw me on my head three times.'' "At the end of the match, he said something in Russian. I don't have any idea what it was. He came over after the match and said "congratulations'. As we were going to the medal presentation, I told him he's the greatest wrestler who ever lived. Even though I won the gold medal, I have so much respect for him.'' 'I grew up in a working family. As a kid, I could barely pick up a bale of hey. By the time my senior year in high school came around, I was grabbing four bales of hey at a time.'' "I'm from a small town, I'm not used to this big time stuff. It was incredible standing on the podium. I won the gold medal, but I know nobody in wrestling will ever forget him. He's a legend.''

Quotes from Sept. 27 morning session

Rulon Gardner (after beating Yevseychyc) "The one mistake was my fault. I was waiting; I thought I was going to surprise him but he popped his hips in and scored. He's strong; he can bring down his elbows and break an arm. I couldn't believe how he was folding at the end. I wish they would have made him wrestle more. He was trying to get air time and rest. I never had anybody gas out like that before. Once he hit the wall, he was done. The next one will be fun against Kareline. Hopefully, I can execute my moves. We went 5-0 in overtime the last time. I have been working on my defense a little bit, and I have some different strategies. I've also worked on my conditioning. I'm feeling good right now." Jim Gruenwald (after loss to Sheng) "I wrestled a good first period. I didn't get the job done on defense in the second period. I knew how to stop those moves. I've got to accept it, forget it, and move on from it. I'm not giving up, not quitting; I'm going to battle hard for fifth place. I felt great. There was nothing wrong. I just wrestled poorly in the second period." (after loss to Ashkani) "I didn't score any points. I have only myself to blame. I need to acknowledge that I made some mistakes in this tournament. My pride stopped me from working on my par terre enough. That sin is over. I'm going to fix that and win the gold medal next year at the World Championships."

More Quotes from Press Conference with Olympic Medalists Matt Lindland and Garrett Lowney

Matt Lindland, Milwaukie, Ore. (Sunkist Kids) Silver medalist at 76 kg/167.5 lbs. (About his finals match): "He got on top of me early, and he turned me. I got on top late, and it was slippery out there then. I'm happy with a medal. I'm disappointed I didn't win." (What he does next) "I'm going home in a couple of days. I'm going to get out of here and spend some time with my family." (About the USOC) "They did a great job in the village. They did a lot of good stuff for the team. I'm sorry I had to get on the team that way. I think the best guy got on the team." (What he would say to Keith Sieracki) "To Keith, good luck and God bless." (about dealing with pressure here) "I wanted to feel the pressure. Every athlete performs better under pressure. This is an important tournament for me. If those distractions added pressure, fine." (did anybody try to dissuade you from pursuing your court challenges) "I don't think anybody tried to dissuade me, but they sure fought it hard." Garrett Lowney, Appleton, Wis. (Minnesota Storm) Bronze medalist at 97 kg/213.75 lbs. (About his performance) "If felt pretty good. I set my goals high going into the tournament, and I'm satisfied with the result." (About starting his college career) "I haven't proved anything in college yet. It's completely separate, my Greco-Roman and my college careers. I'm looking forward to competing for J (Robinson) and Marty (Morgan). But, maybe no
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