Its been nearly 30 years since they were all on the same team, but next week the 1980 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team will reunite at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Las Vegas. This group includes former University of Wisconsin wrestlers Lee Kemp and Russ Hellickson. The team will be introduced during the evening session of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on Saturday, June 14 and also honored during a social.
Kemp, Hellickson and the rest of the 1980 Olympic wrestling team were not able to compete at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, because of a U.S. government boycott of the Olympic Games after the Soviet Unions invasion of Afghanistan. Though they did not get to compete that year, Hellickson took home a silver medal at 220 lbs. in 1976.
Even though Kemp did not get to actually compete in the Olympics, he has the opportunity to experience this summers games in Beijing. The three-time NCAA Champion will serve as an assistant coach on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team and could coach current Badger assistant coach Donny Pritzlaff in Beijing. Pritzlaff has been training all year towards qualifying for the Olympics and he will compete next weekend in the 74 kg./163 lbs. weight class.
Be sure to check back to uwbadgers.com next week to see results from Pritzlaffs competition at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials.