Frank Molinaro gets into Olympics due to meldonium redistribution

Frank Molinaro
Getty Images
0 Comments

The U.S. will have a full Olympic men’s freestyle wrestling team after all.

Frank Molinaro, who failed in his last chance to qualify for the Rio Games on Sunday, was put into the Olympic tournament via a United World Wrestling decision announced Wednesday.

Polish and Ukrainian wrestlers in Molinaro’s 65kg division violated doping rules with “small concentrations” of the now-infamous meldonium at a European Olympic qualifying tournament in mid-April.

With those two qualified wrestlers thrown out, a domino effect led to Molinaro getting into the Olympics via his third-place finish Sunday. Molinaro originally needed to finish in the top two to make the Olympics.

In all, seven wrestlers across men’s and women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman lost Olympic spots due to meldonium in UWW’s announcement Wednesday.

The announcement came one month after the World Anti-Doping Agency said athletes could be cleared if they had small traces of meldonium.

Several athletes had meldonium bans lifted due to the WADA relaxation after many athletes who tested positive said they stopped taking the drug before it was banned Jan. 1.

With Molinaro’s inclusion, the U.S. kept its streak of qualifying in all 198 Olympic men’s freestyle events since the technique’s debut at the St. Louis 1904 Games.

The U.S. Olympic wrestling team will include 14 members total in 18 weight classes, the first time the roster size is fewer than 16 since 1952, when the U.S. didn’t enter any Greco-Roman wrestlers at the Helsinki Games.

MORE: Wrestler goes from living in pickup truck to Olympic team