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Greco-Roman athlete Zach Nielsen headshot

Zach Nielsen of Zimmerman, Minn., is a resident athlete in the Greco-Roman wrestling program and competes in the 84- kilogram weight class. A senior at Northern Michigan University, Nielsen is a German studies major, minoring in international studies.

Nielsen, who recently earned a silver medal at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas, has had the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world for competitions.

“The two countries I have visited that stand out the most are China and Finland,” Nielsen said. “China was so different. We had many new cultural experiences. At the time they, were still preparing for the Beijing Olympics, seeing it all go together was real motivation. The people and landscape of Finland were very similar to that of my home in Minnesota and here in Marquette. Both trips were good learning experiences.”

Nielsen plans on graduating from NMU in December 2013 and has his sights set on the 2016 Olympics.

“I realize how lucky I am to be training at the USOEC,” he said. “Not everyone gets to receive an education while pursuing their Olympic dream. When I’m done wrestling, I will have an education and will be prepared for the next step in life. I am very thankful to be a member of this program.”

Zach during a competition against the Marine team.