U S will qualify for 2000 Olympics in freestyle at 54 kg and 97 kg

By Gary Abbott | March 24, 2000, 12 a.m. (ET)
The United States did not enter any athletes at the Freestyle Olympic Qualification Tournament in Alexandria, Egypt, March 25-26.

This event is the final of five freestyle Olympic qualifying events held across the world from January-March 2000.

Nations are only able to enter athletes in weight classes which they did not qualify for during the 1999 Freestyle World Championships last fall. The athletes do not qualify themselves for the Olympic Games; rather, they are qualifying their nation to participate in that weight class.

After the final Olympic Freestyle Qualifing event is held this weekend, the points for each nation at each weight class will be added up. The top three scores for each nation at each weight class are counted toward the final total. The top seven nations at each weight class from the qualifying events will qualify for the Olympic Games

The U.S. was eligible to participate at two weight classes in freestyle - 54 kg/119 lbs. and 97 kg/213.75 lbs.

Going into the tournament in Alexandria, the United States was fifth in the standings at 54 kg/119 lbs. and third in the standings at 97 kg/213.75 lbs. The U.S. was in strong position to qualify at both weight classes.

Based upon the number of entries in Alexandria, the efforts of the U.S. athletes at both 54 kg and 97 kg in the first four qualifying events meet the qualifying standards at both weight classes. However, the official FILA standings for the qualification series will not be published until the tournament in Alexandria is completed.

The USA had already earned Olympic freestyle qualification berths at six weight classes through the 1999 World Championships (58 kg/127.75 lbs., 63 kg/138.75 lbs., 69 kg/152 lbs., 76 kg/167.5 lbs., 85 kg/187.25 lbs and 130 kg/286 lbs.). With the addition of the two weight classes through the Olympic Qualification Tournaments, the United States will field a full team of eight freestyle wrestlers at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

The third and final qualifying phase for the 2000 Olympic Games are the Continental Championships, scheduled for April and May of 2000. Only the top non-qualifying nation at each weight class from the Continental Championships will qualify for the Olympic Games.

The USA is eligible to participate in the Pan American Championships in Medellin, Colombia, May 19-24. This is the Continental Championships for nations in North, Central and South America. However, as the United States has already qualified at all eight weight classes, this event will have no qualification importance for the U.S. team.