Freestlye news



If the reaction of some of America's top freestyle wrestlers to the announcement that the 2003 World Freestyle Wrestling Championships will be held in New York in Madison Square Garden are any indication of what fan reaction will be, then this event, scheduled September 12-14, 2003, will be a major success.

'It's a great opportunity to wrestle on our home soil,' commented Kerry McCoy, the U.S. World Team member at 264.5 lbs./120 kg since 2000. 'Having the World Championships in the greatest city and the greatest arena was the selling point for two years ago when things didn't go the way that we wanted them to, the tragedy of Sept. 11. So now it's just a great opportunity to again have the World Championships at home.' The 2001 World Championships of Wrestling were scheduled for Sept. 26-29 at Madison Square Garden, but were postponed and relocated following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

'And for me, providing I make the team, it will be extra special,' the Long Island native McCoy continued, 'because being so close to my home town, I'll get a chance to get a lot of my friends and family to watch me go out and compete.'

Chris Bono, the U.S. World Team member at 145.5 lbs./66 kg who recently defeated 2001 world champion Serafim Barzakov at the Kurt Angle Classic, echoed these thoughts.

'It's going to be a good thing considering it was there two years ago, when we were supposed to compete. We didn't compete there and had to go to Bulgaria,' said Bono. Then he mentioned that the U.S. team skipped the 2002 World Freestyle Wrestling Championships in Tehran, Iran, because of security concerns. 'So we're back to where we started two years at Madison Square Garden. So it's kind of nice that hopefully we can go in there and get a title in our own environment,' he said.

Wrestling in the main arena at the Garden will not be intimidating for these world-class athletes.

'My senior year in college, the [NCAA] national championships were at the University of Northern Iowa, and that was in front of over 17,000 people,' recalled McCoy. 'So I had the opportunity to compete in front of a big crowd. It's great for wrestling. It's great for the sport. It's great for New York.' He has also already competed in the smaller adjoining arena to the Garden in the 1998 Goodwill Games.

Bono also stressed the significance of freestyle wrestling's world championships taking place under the same roof that housed such classics as Ali-Frazier. 'It's going to be fun,' he said. 'I'm a big time sports fan. I've seen many events on TV in there, and I know about the building. It's just going to be an honor to be able to compete in there. And hopefully the building will see myself and our whole team win a world title.'

Bobby Douglas, head coach at Iowa State where Bono serves as an assistant coach and was an NCAA national champion, was slated to be the freestyle team head coach at the 2002 World Championships before the trip to Iran was cancelled. 'I'll be involved,' he said of the 2003 World Championships, but added, 'I'm not sure what role I'll be playing, but I will be involved.'

Nonetheless, he is pumped that this event will be in New York. 'I can't think of a better place to have the World Championships,' he said.

'They probably ought to start thinking about having a permanent home where it's safe. New York's a safe place for it,' he stressed.

Make your travel plans NOW and get set for the 2003 World Championships of freestyle Wrestling. Tickets are now on sale and available at the Garden and Ticketmaster. They also are available at the web site for the 2003 World Freestyle Wrestling Championships: