Weeks after the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in April, Coleman Scott and Ali Bernard became the last two U.S. freestyle wrestlers to make the squad for the 2012 London Olympics, both in rather unconventional ways in June.
Scott, a 2008 NCAA champ for Oklahoma State, won the 60 kg. spot on the men’s freestyle team in a special event in New York City’s Times Square in early June… while Bernard was named to the team Thursday after Stephany Lee, the original women’s freestyle qualifier at 72 kg/158.5 lbs., was handed a one-year suspension for a positive drug test.
Lee accepted the year-long suspension this week from the U.S. Anti Doping Agency based upon a positive test at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling in Iowa City, Iowa. on April 21, 2012. Lee tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol acid, a marijuana metabolite in the class of Cannabinoids. Based upon the USADA ruling, Lee — who had defeated Bernard in the finals — forfeited, making Bernard the U.S. Olympic Team Trials champ. She will wrestle for the U.S. women’s team at 72 kg. at the London Games.
Bernard, a native of New Ulm, Minn., wrestled in college in Canada at the University of Regina and the University of Alberta.
As for the men’s freestyle slot at 60 kg… Scott earned his trip to the Olympics by defeating both Reece Humphrey, then Shawn Bunch in a set of matches as part of the “Beat The Streets” event in Times Square on June 7.
Unlike other Team USA wrestlers who automatically qualified for the Games at the Iowa City Trials in April, Coleman’s weight class had not yet been qualified for the Olympics. Bunch and Humphrey had each qualified the class at subsequent international events, meaning Scott was forced to beat both of them for his place on the roster.
Scott did that at the New York event, first defeating Ohio State mat alum Humphrey in an afternoon matchup. Then, in the evening, the former Cowboy won the first and the last bouts of the best-of-three series with the top-ranked Bunch — a two-time NCAA All-American for Edinboro University — who received the first-round bye for qualifying the class. (Two weeks later, Bunch announced he was launching his mixed martial arts (MMA) career.)
Although the Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics will be in late July, wrestling competition does not begin until Aug. 5. Bernard is expected to compete on Aug. 9; Scott’s matches are scheduled for Aug. 11.
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