April 21, 2012
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It was 439 days ago that the University of Iowa and the Iowa City and Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau proudly announced the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials would be held in Iowa City.
Today, after countless meetings, some sleepless nights, a myriad of meetings, months of preparation, and numerous meetings, the doors of Carver-Hawkeye Arena open for a record number of fans waiting to see who will survive the tournament that decides the United States' representatives at the 2012 London Olympics.
If you were among the fortunate faithful to gain admission, congratulations, you can say you were there when Iowa City first hosted the Olympic Trials. If you haven't yet purchased your ticket, there is still time to become part of Iowa wrestling history by grabbing one of the few seats available. And whether you're watching from near or far, here are some numbers to know:
273: Wrestlers qualified to compete in this weekend's event -- That list includes former Olympic and World Champions, World Team members, Olympic team members, tournament qualifiers and at-large selections.
222: Media members covering this national event inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena -- From New York to Arizona and Florida to Seattle, fans from all over country will be watching Iowa City through the eyes of the national media.
41: States represented by the qualifiers -- Including 21 wrestlers with Iowa ties.
25: Number of wins Brent Metcalf totaled inside Carver-Hawkeye from 2008-10 -- The two-time NCAA Champion and three-time All-American was a 2011 Olympic Test Event champion and a 2010 World Team Member. He has never lost inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
17: Former Hawkeyes with Olympic Experience -- The Hawkeye Olympic qualifiers combined for 19 Olympic appearances and captured nine medals, the first Terry McCann in 1960 and the most recent by Terry Brands and Lincoln McIlravy in 2000.
9: Weight classes contested each day -- Each weight class is finished during one day. The early session is the Challenge Tournament, which determines the finalists in each weight. The late session is the Championship Series, which is a best-of-three series between the top two athletes and determines the Olympic Trials champion at that weight class.
8: Former or current Hawkeyes competing -- The Iowa group, all freestyle competitors, combined for five NCAA titles. They include Joe Johnston (66 kg), Phil Keddy (84 kg), Matt McDonough (55 kg), Todd Meneely (66 kg), Brent Metcalf (66 kg), Steve Mocco (120 kg), Ryan Morningstar (74 kg) and Mike Zadick (60 kg).
6: Hours of NBC Sports Channel Trials coverage -- NBC Sports Network will present six hours of next-day coverage of the Olympic Wrestling Trials. The first day of Olympic Trials wrestling action will be aired on Sunday, April 22 from 4-7 p.m. Final day action will be aired on Monday, April 23 from 3-6 p.m. (ET). Andrew Catalon and Jeff Blatnick will call the action.
3: Two-time Olympic Champions for the USA -- George Mehnert (1904, 1908), Bruce Baumgartner (1984, 1992) and John Smith (1988, 1992) have each won two Olympic gold medals. Henry Cejudo (FS 55kg) is chasing his second Olympic title this year.
2: Four-time U.S. Olympians in wrestling -- Mark Fuller (GR -- 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992) and Bruce Baumgartner (FS -- 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996) are the only four-time Olympians in U.S. history. That list could grow this weekend as Dennis Hall, an Olympian in 1992, 1996 and 2004, searches for a fourth Olympic berth in the Greco-Roman 60 kg bracket.
9,434 Previous attendance record for Olympic Wrestling Trials -- Based upon the 12,000 tickets already sold for each day, a single-session record has already been established for this event. The previous record was set in the final session at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Dallas, Texas.
13,782: Capacity of Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the Trials -- Just a few seats remain, but there is still time to buy all-session, single-day or single-session tickets. Visit iowacitytolondon.com for ticket information.