The qualification process for the 2016 Olympics is down to the last two tournaments and USA Wrestling sends nine of their champions from the trials to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia this weekend. The Pan Am's (and all the other continental) Qualifiers are over and it's down to the last two tournaments aka "last chance qualifiers". USA only needed to send two reps to these qualifiers in 2012 so this is kind of interesting. The 2nd of the "last" qualifiers is in Turkey in May.
I'm not sure how sunny Ulaanbaatar became the spot to go to, but we are headed their with half of our Olympic team. An interesting fact about the city is that it is the capital and largest city of Mongolia. The name translates to "Red Hero". Mongolians wanted it to be renamed "Hero City" when they won their independence from China with the help of the Russians, but the communists insisted on the "red" part. So there's your Mongolian history for the day.
We have two men's freestyle weights, three greco, and four women's yet to qualify. While no country can send someone to these tournaments if they've already qualified, which weakens up the brackets, we aren't exactly sending the most experienced bunch over there.
Frank Molinaro and J'Den Cox are making their World Team debuts in this all important venture after winning very loaded brackets at the Trials. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the tough brackets with Olympic births on the line. Only Kelsey Campbell is a veteran Olympian, meaning hopefully we see eight Americans punch their ticket and see their Olympic dreams come true.
Mongolia is 13 hours ahead of us here in the Eastern Time Zone so live streams will be available for viewing the "night before" here in the states for the opening rounds. It should be some great and interesting action to see.
U.S. Greco-Roman roster (competes April 22)
59 kg/130 lbs. – Jesse Thielke, Germantown, Wis. (New York AC/OTC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – RaVaughn Perkins, Omaha, Neb. (New York AC/OTC)
98 kg/215 lbs. – Joe Rau, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
U.S. Women’s freestyle roster (competes April 23)
48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Haley Augello, Lockport, Ill. (New York AC/OTC)
53 kg/116.5 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
58 kg/128 lbs. – Kelsey Campbell, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)
69 kg/152 lbs. – Tamyra Mensah, Katy, Texas (Titan Mercury WC/OTC)
U.S. Men’s freestyle roster (competes April 24)
65 kg/143 lbs. – Frank Molinaro, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
86 kg/189 lbs. – J’Den Cox, Columbia, Mo. (Missouri Wrestling Federation)