wrestling

Terry Brands
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Iowa wrestler throws Olympic medalist coach at NCAA Championships

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Iowa associate head coach Terry Brands had two words for Cory Clark after his pupil won an NCAA wrestling title on Saturday.

Throw me.

It took a bit of convincing, but Clark eventually did clinch Brands and take him to the mat in an unusual athlete-coach celebration. It drew an ovation from the St. Louis crowd and instant social media buzz.

Clark said he “freaked out” when he heard Brands’ order.

“I didn’t know what to do, kind of out of it out there,” said Clark, a senior who became Iowa’s first national champion since 2014. “I grabbed him. He said throw me. I tapped him on the back and went, no, I’m not going to throw you. Throw me. I go, no. He goes, throw me. I go, all right. I grabbed him and threw him. So that’s what happened. He probably wants it to seem like I tossed him for no reason. But I didn’t want to throw him; he wanted thrown. He was fired up.”

Brands had reason to be fired up. Clark came back from tearing wrist ligaments early in the season and reportedly separating his shoulder.

As for Brands, he was known as a fiery wrestler in his heyday. He won world titles in 1993 and 1995 but was beaten at the 1996 Olympic Trials by Kendall Cross, who took gold in Atlanta (as did Brands’ twin brother, Tom, who is now the head coach at Iowa).

Brands retired, then unretired and made the 2000 Olympic team, taking bronze in Sydney at age 32.

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Kyle Snyder records another unprecedented feat at NCAA Championships

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Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder became the first reigning U.S. Olympic champion to capture an NCAA wrestling title on Saturday. He wasn’t the only Rio medalist to come through in St. Louis.

J’Den Cox became the first Missouri wrestler to win three NCAA titles, following up his bronze in Brazil in August.

Snyder, 21, is the youngest U.S. wrestler to earn world and Olympic titles. On Saturday, he repeated as NCAA champ at 285 pounds, beating Wisconsin’s Connor Medbery 6-3.

Snyder overcame a rib injury in a Thursday match that necessitated pain-killing shots Friday and Saturday.

He couldn’t compare the meanings of all of his major titles.

“So very hard for me to describe what it means to win an event like this or the Olympics, just joy and thankful for the opportunities to compete, and I love wrestling,” Snyder said.

Cox, 22, is now one of five Americans to win an NCAA title after bagging an Olympic medal, joining Dan HodgeChris TaylorBarry Davis and Snyder, according to USA Wrestling.

In the 197-pound final, Cox topped Minnesota’s Brett Pfarr 8-2.

Cox, an all-state linebacker in high school, exhausted his NCAA wrestling eligibility but could play football in the fall for Missouri. He said Saturday that he will take the coming weeks to determine if that will happen.

“It’s not really me, it’s [Missouri football] coach [Barry] Odom,” Cox said on ESPN. “We’ll talk it over. When that door comes, I’ll tell you if I’ll walk through it or not.”

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Iran lifts ban on U.S. wrestling team

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran has lifted a ban on U.S. wrestlers, allowing them to take part in the Freestyle World Cup later this month in the Iranian city of Kermanshah, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

The Sunday report by state TV quotes Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying that the ban was lifted after the “discriminative restrictions” on Iranian nationals travelling to the U.S. was suspended by a U.S. federal judge.

The wrestlers were originally banned Friday from the Feb. 16-17 competition after President Donald Trump temporarily suspended travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran. The Trump administration is now appealing to reinstate the travel ban. On Sunday a judge in San Francisco rejected the government’s request for an immediate reinstatement. Formal arguments in the case begin on Monday.

Regardless of tensions between their governments, American and Iranian wrestlers have frequently hosted each other in competitions and have a working relationship that goes back decades.

At least one Iranian parliamentarian, Ali Mohtari, was critical of the original decision to ban the U.S. team. In a posting on Twitter, Mohtari argued that Iran should do the opposite of Trump and instead make a point of welcoming the American wrestlers.

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