October 24, 2007

Quotes from the China vs. USOEC Competition

Jim Gruenwald (blue) wrestles Wang Hui
Jim Gruenwald (blue) wrestles Wang Hui
USOEC Greco-Roman wrestling assistant coach and athlete Jim Gruenwald

About the match:
“It was the first time I wrestled in a competition since January 2005. I feel a little rusty, but I think I got some of the rust knocked off. Getting the first score was nice and breaking my opponent in the third period felt good. There was no one single move that won the match—constantly keeping him on the defense is something psychologically draining on a person.”
 
About coming out of retirement:
“One of the biggest reasons for me coming back is that I have a fire in my belly that is still burning. I also didn’t want to look back in eight to nine months and wonder—what if? I’d be too old for (the) 2012 (Olympic Games).”
 
About coaching and competing in one night:
“It was draining; especially with the event being two hours. I was just trying to give the guys (USOEC wrestlers) energy to wrestle and then I wrestled—it’s just another test. It was also rewarding to see them (USOEC wrestlers) compete. It kept my mind off of my match.”
 
About wrestling Chinese athletes in the past:
“I lost in the quarterfinals in the 2000 Olympics to a Chinese athlete who was wrestling in his third Olympics and was a three-time bronze medalist.”
 
Chinese Greco-Roman wrestler Chen Xiaofei
 
About the competition:
“I was happy that I did a pretty good job.  The team performance overall was very good. These types of competitions are great preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games. Our opponents were very strong so, by training and competing against them, it was a good learning experience.”
 
About the week in Marquette:
“I’ve been in America—Colorado and Chicago—and both times I felt the American people were very friendly. But here in Marquette they made us feel even more at home. The USOEC coaches gave us a lot of advice and pointers during our training.”
 
USOEC freestyle wrestling head coach Shannyn Gillespie
 
About the competition:
“I thought it was a good experience for the (USOEC) wrestlers. It’s rare to get international competitions in Marquette—the last time was two years ago when we competed against the Czech Republic. Amy Borgnini wrestled up two weight classes. It’s good to see that she’s using the skills she’s learning in the gym against an athlete two weight classes heavier. I’m proud of all of our (USOEC) wrestlers. We had three to four newcomers competing. It was a good atmosphere for them to be in—it was a top-notch competition for their first USOEC match.”
 
About the Chinese visit:
“We spent a lot of time with the Chinese Team. We took them bowling and up Sugarloaf Mountain. The (Chinese and USOEC) athletes had a chance to bond. When you have athletes taking trips like this, there’s a mix of cultures and sports. It’s an expression of life—you see each other smile.”  
 
Chinese freestyle wrestling head coach Ma Zeng liang
 
About the competition:
“I thought the Chinese women performed very well. I was quite happy with their performance.”
 
About the week in Marquette:
“Everybody treated us very well, from the administrators, to the faculty, to the students.  It was a great visit and we learned a lot. We would like to invite the USOEC athletes, NMU students and faculty to visit in China one day.”
 
USOEC freestyle wrestling athlete Amy Borgnini
 
About the competition:
“I thought that I wrestled well even though I lost. I never stopped working. The first period was my worst. I got caught in a gut wrench, but I never stopped fighting until the end. Even though I got tagged in the first period, I just kept pushing. I feel it prepared me for (the) Sunkist (International Tournament) this weekend.”
 
About the Chinese visit:
“I had a sense of the Chinese athletes' personalities through watching their expressions. We learned a lot even though we couldn't talk to each other.  It's nice to have new faces in the room even though they're bigger and are in higher weight classes.”
 
“We learned new techniques for the single leg. The Chinese athletes work differently. We learned a lot from them. (In practice,) we played games on Monday's and Wednesday's, like soccer and hockey. You can see how great they are at games, especially soccer. We mixed teams with USOEC and Chinese athletes. You really felt the Chinese girls were a part of your team when you celebrated making goals.”
 
Chinese freestyle wrestler Liang Yue
 
About visiting Marquette:
“We had a very good visit here. People were very friendly. We enjoyed tonight’s competition. The women wrestlers here were are quite young and still learning, but we had an excellent training experience.”
 
USOEC boxing head coach Al Mitchell
 
About the competition:
“It was a good competition tonight. I’m glad our athletes get to see other styles. The Asian style is more lean and hold, and they try to frustrate you. And it worked with the first two matches with Bruno and Omar who got a little frustrated in the first two rounds. By then it’s too late. All of the USOEC boxers did well. I’m pleased with their performance and we had an outstanding week of training.”
 
Chinese boxing head coach Wei Hongtao
 
About the competition:
“Competition tonight was very good. The Chinese athletes don’t get too many international opportunities to compete and this was an international opportunity. So this was a good chance for us to learn.” 
 
About a USOEC athlete who impressed him:
“I was very impressed with Jesse Carradine. He has great timing.”
 
About his team’s time in Marquette:
“Very, very good. We are very happy to have come here. The people here are like angels.” 
 
USOEC boxer Jesse Carradine
 
About the competition:
“I put the pressure on in the later rounds—instead of just boxing. I got in some good right hands.”
 
About training with the Chinese Team:
“It was fun—different.  It was my first experience training with athletes from other countries. There was no animosity. There was good energy in the gym. My favorite part was sparring. I bust (a Chinese athlete’s) nose with a right hand in the first round. I learned to throw a lot of left hands.”
 
About time outside of the ring:
“I had fun hanging out with the Chinese athletes. They had good energy. I learned a lot of Chinese words.”
 
USOEC weightlifting head coach Andy Tysz

About the competition:
“I can’t say enough about the performance of our lifters or the crowd. The crowd was so into it that one of the athletes turned to me and said we should try to get a national meet up here. As (USOEC athlete) Collin (Ito) says, ‘The night was just awesome.’”
 
USOEC weightlifter Collin Ito
 
About the Chinese visit:
“It’s been an interesting experience to meet with these Chinese athletes and to learn from them about their culture. Our team obviously was disappointed that the Chinese lifters couldn’t make as they are some of the top lifters in the world.”
 
About the competition:
“The cheering and the clapping, and everyone’s support were just awesome. When the crowd gets behind you like that, it makes you really want to lift.”


Prepared By
David Faiella
Sports Information Director
906-227-1013