College Publisher Network Join the College Publisher Network
Advertise Across the Network
View Network Affiliates
Zadick brothers work to join Olympic wrestling greats
Zach Smith - The Daily Iowan
Issue date: 6/13/08 Section: Sports
At either end of the Iowa wrestling room, in solid black paint, are the five interlocked circles making up the Olympic crest. For the most successful grapplers who have been through the Iowa wrestling program, competing in the Olympics is all part of being a Hawkeye.
Of Iowa's 52 total Olympians, 12 have been wrestlers, nine of whom returned home with medals, including the current head Hawk Tom Brands, who took gold at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
Brands' brother, Terry Brands, is the U.S. freestyle team coach and was an Olympic medalist himself, earning bronze at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
The Brands brothers, as well as Ed and Lou Banach - both gold medalists at the 1984 games in Mexico City, are the only pairs of brothers in the storied history of Iowa wrestling to each earn medals in the Olympic games - quite a feat, considering the numerous brother tandems who have donned the nation's most recognizable wrestling singlet.
Enter Bill and Mike Zadick, a set of brothers now training for this weekend's U.S. Olympic Trials in Las Vegas. Each having been through the Iowa wrestling program both as wrestlers and coaches, the Zadick brothers - from Great Falls, Mont. - have burst onto the national and international circuit over the past four years.
Bill Zadick was a gold medalist at the 2006 World Championships in Guangzhou, China, while Mike Zadick earned a silver medal. Mike Zadick said the thought of wrestling alongside his older brother in Beijing would be an honor for him and his family.
"Obviously, it'd be something that's really special for family," Mike Zadick said. "He's five years older than me. Ever since I was 5 and he was 10, we've been talking about wrestling in the Olympics together someday.
"We kind of got a taste of what it would be like at the Worlds [in 2006], and now, having an Olympic year, this is an opportunity that we could live it."
As the date for the Olympic trials approached, Mike Zadick spent countless hours in the wrestling room critiquing his technique as well as enduring gut-wrenching, high-intensity training sessions.
Engineering Mike Zadick's Olympic run is none other than Tom Brands - with the ever looming shadow of the great Dan Gable keeping an ever-watchful eye on the premises. Gable is the only wrestler in history to go through the entire Olympic Games without surrendering a single point, while Brands is easily one of the most dominant figures in the sport.
Domination is the only kind of success that is acceptable in the Iowa wrestling program, an ideal that has been passed on to Mike Zadick.
"Success - like Coach Brands has always said - is defined by winning," Mike Zadick said. "That's really the bottom line. You know of these people and those people, but you only know of them because they've won. You don't remember the ones who took third or second."
With all of the pressure and the expectations set upon himself, Mike Zadick still takes time to acknowledge the simplicity of the sport, even amid all the turmoil surrounding this summer's games.
"In wrestling, we've been to so many different countries, and colonies, and republics," Mike Zadick joked. "It doesn't have to be a big, high-rise, fancy building. It just could be a backyard. Throw a mat down somewhere, and it won't even matter. That's kind of how it is with wrestling."
While the Zadick brothers are on the verge of reaching the pinnacle of the sport together, Tom Brands, having gone through it with his brother, knows all too well the emotions the Zadick family is going through.
"You're taking care of yourself, No. 1, and then No. 2 priority, or real close to No. 1, is family. That's why it becomes important, especially with wrestling," Brands said. "It's a very, very personal experience for yourself. When you have family right alongside you it's even better."
E-mail DI reporter Zach Smith at:
? 2008 Daily Iowan