U.S. Greco-Roman squad lands in Beijing
T.C. Dantzler was a little groggy from the 12-hour flight from San Francisco to Beijing but USA Wrestling reports that the 37-year-old athlete was "all smiles" as he walked through Beijing Capital International Airport late Saturday afternoon.
Dantzler and the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestlers and coaches were the first American wrestling team to arrive in Beijing, according to USA Wrestling. The men's and women's freestyle teams are due in town next week.
"Man, it's very exciting to be here and everybody is excited about bringing home that gold medal," Dantzler said. "Now that I'm here in Beijing, I can't wait to get out there and compete. I'm ready to go."
Brad Vering, 30, competed at the 2004 Athens Games but suffered a first-round loss. Last year he won a World silver medal at the 185-pound weight, and led the U.S. to its first-ever Greco-Roman team title.
"It's rejuvenating to get here," Vering told USA Wrestling. "It's been a long trip, but it's everything we've been expecting and more since we got here. It's just beautiful. Now is when you start really realizing you're an Olympian and this is it."
The Greco-Roman team will hold its first practice in Beijing on Sunday afternoon at Beijing Normal University. The U.S. team is coached by Olympic champions Steve Fraser (head coach) and Momir Petkovic (assistant).
The squad will compete Aug. 12-14 at the China Agriculture University Gymnasium.
-- Greg Johnson
Photos: T.C. Dantzler celebrates after winning a Greco-Roman match on June 14 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The win put him on the U.S. Olympic team. Credit: Marlene Karas/US PRESSWIRE
Insert: Brad Vering wrestles Venezuela's Eddy Bartolozzy during the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro on July 24. Credit: Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press