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With the London Olympics fast approaching, it is never too soon to learn about the men and women soon to be national heroes. Since this is America, the athletes sporting the red, white, and blue will look to continue the nation’s theme of total domination across the globe. To help you learn about athletes on some of the lesser publicized sports, we’ll be running a series to inform you on your soon to be American heroes.
Wrestling is one of the most ancient competitions that still exists today. It was a favorite of the Roman and Greek civilizations, as well as the favorite sport of Abraham Lincoln. Wrestling requires strength, determination, smarts, and toughness, a few of America’s greatest qualities. On the American wrestling team stands individuals from different backgrounds competing in different styles and classes, but one thing is certain: we’re gonna kick some ass.
Leading the pack for heavyweights is Tervel Dlagnev. Dlagnev is 27 years old and has recently hit a stride of success, winning international tournaments including his gold medal in 2011 at the Pan-American games. Dlagnev, of Bulgarian descent, found his roots in Arlington, Texas and moved on to the University of Nebraska-Kearney for NCAA wrestling. Standing at 6’0” and weighing 265 pounds, Dlagnev is a force to be reckoned with in freestyle wrestling. Dlagnev is a simple man. He often eats a PB&J for breakfast, but continues on to consume over 6,000 calories a day for his training.
Justin Lester is the current #1 ranked wrestler in Greco-Roman in the 66kg weight class (145 pounds). Lester is considered to be one of the most intelligent wrestlers on the Olympic team. Being a former chess champion, Lester combines his smarts with athleticism, and he is a monster on the mat. After a few disappointing losses, Lester retired in 2008, only to enter wrestling again with the U.S. Army, joining its World Class Athlete Program. Representing the United States and the Army, Lester is sure to cause some commotion this summer.
Jake Herbert hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Honing his craft at Northwestern, Herbert has quickly risen through the ranks of wrestling to become one of the world’s best. Herbert, in the 82kg (185 pound) weight class, is a perennial top-five finisher in international competitions. Herbert is most well-known for his dominant stint in college, racking up a few undefeated seasons and once winning the Big 10 Male Athlete of the Year, as well as the Best Male Wrestler in the Country in 2009. In his most recent World Championships, Herbert won a silver medal and is expected to do significantly better in this summer’s Olympics. Many expect him to make a red, white, and blue fueled run to the top of the Olympics.