USA Wrestling Pan American Champio...

Pan American Championships set for U S Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs Feb 28 March 2

By Elizabeth Wiley | Feb. 26, 2008, 1:15 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The 2008 Pan American Wrestling Championship will take place February 28 - March 2 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Some of the best wrestlers from North, Central and South America will compete. The Pan American Wrestling Championships is held every year, and features the three international styles of wrestling: Greco-Roman, men's freestyle and women's freestyle.

This year, the competition holds special significance, as a qualifying event for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

In all three styles, the top athlete in each weight class from a nation which has not already qualified for the Olympics will qualify that nation to compete in the Beijing Games. Only nations that competed at the 2007 World Championships in each weight class are eligible to qualify through the Pan American Championships. In all, there will be 18 spots in the 2008 Olympics up for grabs during the competition in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Of the Pan American nations, the United States has already qualified the most athletes for the Olympic Games, with 12 weight classes qualified among the three styles. Cuba is next among Pan American nations with five weight classes already qualified.

Click here for Olympic qualified weight classes among Pan American nations.

Nations expected to compete in the event include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The foreign line-ups will feature 34 medalists from the 2007 Pan American Games, 21 past champions of the Pan American Championships, and three Olympic medalists.

Click here for tentative foreign team rosters.

The U.S. lineups for the Pan American Championships in all three styles will be announced later this week. The weight classes which the U.S. must still qualify are 60 kg, 74 kg and 96 kg in Greco-Roman, 55 kg and 60 kg in men's freestyle and 55 kg in women's freestyle.

The last time the United States hosted the Pan American Wrestling Championships was 1990, when the event was also held at U.S. Olympic Training Center. Other years when the event was hosted in Colorado Springs were 1986 and 1989.

Adult all-session tickets for the three-day event are $20 apiece. Adult tickets are $15 per day. Adult tickets for preliminary sessions are $10 and for medals and finals matches only are $15 each. Cost of tickets for high school students (with I.D.) and senior citizens (62 and over) is $10 per day. Youth (5-14 years old) tickets are $9 per day.

PAN AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE

Thursday, Feb. 28

4:15-4:30 p.m. - Weigh-ins: Greco-Roman

Friday, Feb. 29
9 a.m-2 p.m. - Elimination Rounds, Repechage: Greco-Roman
4:15-4:30 p.m. - Weigh-ins: Women's Freestyle
5 - 5:30 p.m. - Opening ceremony
5:30 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. - Finals, Award Ceremonies: Greco-Roman

Saturday, March 1
9 a.m-2 p.m. - Elimination Rounds, Repechage: Women's Freestyle
4:15-4:30 p.m. - Weigh-ins: Men's Freestyle
5:30 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. - Finals, Award Ceremonies: Women's Freestyle

Sunday, March 2
9 a.m-2 p.m. - Elimination Rounds, Repechage: Men's Freestyle
5:30 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. - Finals, Award Ceremonies: Men's Freestyle