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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | FREESTYLE WRESTLING

Baumgartner Struggles With Defeat

August 02, 1996|Times Wire Services

The expectations for U.S. 286-pound freestyle wrestler Bruce Baumgartner were huge, his own hopes even greater. And that made his fall even harder.

Baumgartner lost, 6-1, to Russia's Andrei Shumilin to end his bid for a third Olympic wrestling gold medal.

Baumgartner, 35, has won five Olympic or world titles in 11 years.

He can still wrestle back and win a bronze medal; he beat Georgia's Zaza Turmanidze, 14-2, in the consolations.

"I don't know if this is it for me or not," Baumgartner said. "I've got to get by myself and think. But I'm very disappointed, because I know in my heart I can beat him."

Baumgartner easily beat Canada's Andy Bordow, 10-0, in the preliminaries, but injured his right shoulder making a throw. The undetermined injury seemed to bother him against Shumilin.

As the two locked arms nearly three minutes into a scoreless match, Baumgartner countered Shumilin's underhook with a move known as a "whizzer," a throw started by grabbing the elbow and jamming it upward.

But Baumgartner lacked the power to finish the move, and Shumilin threw him on his back for a four-point move--wrestling's equivalent to a grand slam.

American Kenny Monday, a two-time medalist and 1988 Olympic champion, survived a 1-1 referee's decision over Alberto Rodriguez of Cuba, then beat Radion Kertanti of Slovakia, 5-1, to advance in the 163-pound division.

Another American, two-time world champion Tom Brands, won twice at 136 1/2 pounds to move into the semifinals.

Melvin Douglas of the U.S. dropped into the losers' bracket at 198 pounds, and Lou Rosselli, the 114 1/2-pounder who is an assistant coach under Baumgartner at Edinboro (Pa.) University, broke two bones in his right arm and was forced to drop out after winning two consolation matches. Rosselli was injured in a 4-2 victory over Constantin Corduneanu of Romania.

Monday began a comeback last fall after a year away from freestyle wrestling.

Monday trailed, 1-0, against Rodriguez until tying it when the Cuban fled the mat to avoid a possible takedown with four seconds remaining. Monday got the decision because of a caution warning and more passivity calls on Rodriguez.

"Kenny was a little sluggish. He's a lot better wrestler than he showed there," U.S. Coach Joe Seay said.

Monday was preparing to go head-to-head with Dave Schultz for the right to represent America at 163 pounds until the 1984 gold medalist was shot to death in January.

"Dave and I talked about it last November," Monday said. "We ran into each other at a tournament, and he said, 'Back to wrestling, huh?' And I said, 'Yes.'

"But no matter what happened to Dave, I feel I would have been here. I have to feel that way."

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