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Lindland in Final, Lowney Out

September 26, 2000|From Associated Press

Maybe Matt Lindland was right. Maybe wrestling really is the easy part.

Lindland spent all summer in courts and hearings, going all the way to the Supreme Court in getting his loss in the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman trials reversed. He made it to Sydney but was given little chance of doing well.

Now, he will wrestle for the gold medal today at 167 1/2 pounds. Just as he said he would, even if his trials and tribulations in canceling his trials loss in Dallas to Keith Sieracki agitated some U.S. teammates, who felt the result on the mats should stand.

Two other Americans also moved into possible contention for medals by winning their pools: super-heavyweight Rulon Gardner, who is one match away from possibly facing Alexander Karelin, and 127 3/4-pounder Jim Gruenwald. Both wrestle again Wednesday.

Lindland never wavered during a summer that saw him constantly interrupt his training for legal matters, saying he was determined he was right and that he was ready to win a medal.

"I think I'll be wrestling for the gold," he said.

Indeed, he will. Despite not placing in last year's world championships, Lindland followed a familiar scenario to reach the gold-medal match: Wrestle a debated match on the mat, then win the appeals process that follows.

Lindland, who lives in Lincoln, Neb., rallied from a 4-1 deficit to beat David Manukyan of Ukraine, 7-4, Monday in the semifinals for his fourth victory in two days.

"I'm not surprised. I've beaten him every time I've wrestled him," Lindland said. "This has been a motivation of mine since I started wrestling. This has been my objective since I lost in the 1996 trials."

However, Lindland had a few uncertain moments after the victory, as Manukyan protested a scoring sequence in which Lindland was awarded a takedown.

This time, the appeals process lasted only a few minutes, not a few months, and again Lindland won. Judges reviewed the videotape and agreed the scoring was correct.

Lindland will wrestle Mourat Kardanov, a Russian who beat Marko Yli-Hannuksela of Finland, 4-0, in overtime in the other semifinal.

Lindland can win the first U.S. gold medal in Greco-Roman since the boycotted Los Angeles Games in 1984.

However, Lindland will not be joined in the finals by Garrett Lowney, the previously unknown U.S. collegian who quickly became a crowd favorite in Sydney.

Lowney, 20, who beat a five-time world champion among his three victories en route to the semifinals, lost to former world champion Mikael Ljungberg of Sweden at 213 3/4 pounds.

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