Smith named TheMat com Wrestler of the Week

By Gary Abbott | Oct. 05, 2005, 12 a.m. (ET)
Note: To nominate a wrestler for Wrestler of the Week, send the athlete's name, accomplishments for the week and career accomplishments to Gary Abbott at

Iris Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) has been named Wrestler of the Week for the week of September 27-Oct. 3

Each week, will select an Athlete of the Week, based upon performance within wrestling for that week. The selection committee will consider any level of wrestling, from youth programs through the Senior level. The announcement will be made each week on Wednesday.

Smith won a gold medal at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. in women's freestyle wrestling at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 30.

Smith scored a major upset in the gold-medal finals, defeating five-time World champion Kyoko Hamaguchi of Japan, 3-1, 1-1, 1-0. Smith won the first period on a three-point takedown. Hamaguchi won the second period on the 1-1 tie because she scored the last point. In the third and deciding period, Smith scored the only point when Hamaguchi went out of bounds, and Smith went on to victory.

She won four matches on the way to her historic win. In her first bout, Smith stopped Stanka Zlateva of Bulgaria, 3-1, 1-0. In the quarterfinals, Smith stopped Angnieska Wieczczek of Poland, 2-0, 6-0. She also had a strong semifinal win over Anita Schaetzle of Germany, 3-1, 2-0.

Smith was the only U.S. woman wrestler to win a World gold medal this year. She becomes only the fourth U.S. woman wrestler to ever win a World title, joining Tricia Saunders, Kristie Marano and Sandra Bacher on this heralded list of stars.

She was one of four U.S. women to earn a medal in the tournament, helping lead the United States to a strong third place finish in the team standings at the World Championships.

Smith was named USA Today's Olympic Athlete of the Week for her achievements at the World Championships.

Smith was competing in her second World Championships. She is a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), stationed in Fort Carson, Colo. She owns a rank of Sergeant in the U.S. Army. She is originally from Albany, Ga.