Zadick may be Olympian after all
Hawkeye assistant, a reserve, could be thrust into action
Andy Hamilton ? Iowa City Press-Citizen ? August 12, 2008
Mike Zadick wanted to be prepared in the event that something unusual occurred and opened the door for him to wrestle in the Olympics.
The Iowa assistant coach continued his training and managed his weight for nearly two months without a ticket to compete in Beijing. He even made the trip to China last week, hoping an opportunity would arrive and provide him with a last-minute spot in the tournament.
After a bizarre twist at Zadick's weight class, opportunity might be about to knock on his door into the freestyle field.
Bulgarian Anatoly Guidia, the 2007 World silver medalist at 60 kg (132 pounds), sustained a ruptured Achilles tendon Saturday, according to multiple published reports. One report said Guidia suffered the injury while wrestlers from Bulgaria and Romania were playing basketball. Sofia News Agency Novinite.com reported that Guidia underwent surgery at a hospital in Beijing and the spokesperson for the Bulgarian Olympic Delegation, Todor Shabanski, officially announced Saturday that Guidia would not compete in the Olympics.
The Bulgarian Wrestling Federation reportedly was working to get its country's 60 kg alternate, Ismail Redzhep, into the field as Guidia's replacement and had taken steps to fly Redzhep from Sofia to Beijing. But Redzhep was reportedly involved in an accident Sunday when his car got a flat tire, went into a ditch and struck a tree on his way to Sofia. He suffered a cracked rib and was hospitalized in the Bulgarian capital city. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation was preparing to notify FILA, wrestling's governing body, that it didn't have a suitable replacement, thus opening a spot for another wrestler, Novinite.com reported.
The news of the Bulgarian misfortune quickly made its way around the world. Bob Zadick was optimistic enough about his son's chances of wrestling in the Olympics that he booked a trip to China even after the U.S. failed in four attempts to qualify the weight for Beijing and Mike Zadick was not awarded one of the seven wild card exemptions after winning the Olympic Trials at 60 kg in June.
"Win, lose or draw I was going," Bob Zadick said. "We were always going to go over just on the chance he made weight and there was someone who withdrew or someone who got injured.
"You've got to think positive, and that's why I'm going. My gut feeling tells me he's going to get in, and that's just the way I believe."
Zadick seems to have a strong case in his favor. He was a World silver medalist in 2006. He was the last wrestler to beat reigning world champion Mavlet Batirov of Russia in International competition. He's been a three-time U.S. National champion.
USA Wrestling was taking steps Monday to secure a spot for Zadick in the field. Executive director Rich Bender wrote in an e-mail that "it is a complicated matter" that his organization is working on.
Zadick came up short in three tries to qualify the weight for the Olympics. He lost in the first round of last year's World Championships to Albanian Sahit Prizreni, the eventual bronze medalist. He needed to win the Pan Am Championships and placed third, losing to Canadian Guivi Sissaouri, a 2001 World champion. He needed to place fourth or better at a qualifying tournament in Switzerland but dropped a second-round match to Iranian Sayed Mohammadi in a rematch of the 2006 World finals.
USA Wrestling opted to send Nate Gallick to Turkey for the final Olympic qualifying tournament in place of Zadick, and the former Iowa State NCAA champion lost in the opening round. Zadick was hopeful he would receive a wild card selection, but China received all seven of the exemptions handed out in June.
"He's gotten down a little bit, but Mike is a resilient kid, both of my boys are," Bob Zadick said. "They're resilient as hell. They have the ability to move through that, get knocked down in the dirt and get back up. That's been our whole philosophy our whole life. I've always told them that a champion is a guy who gets knocked down in the dirt and gets back up and finds a way to win."
Reach Andy Hamilton at 339-7368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.