Iowa State assistant coach Cael Sanderson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) has been named the winner of the 2004 John Smith Award as the Freestyle Wrestler of the Year by USA Wrestling. It is the second straight year that Sanderson has won this prestigious award (2003, 2004).
Sanderson won the Olympic gold medal
in men's freestyle wrestling at 84 kg/185 lbs. at the Summer Olympic Games in
Athens, Greece. He was the only U.S. wrestler to win a gold medal during the
Athens Games, one of six U.S. medallists in all three styles.
won five matches on the way to the title, and he defeated 2000 Olympic silver
medalist Moon Eui Jae of Korea in the gold-medal finals, 3-1.
semifinal victory was a thrilling 3-2 decision over 1999 World champion and 2000
Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero of Cuba. Sanderson scored two second-period
takedowns for the margin of victory. He had lost his previous two meetings with
Romero prior to the Olympic showdown.
In the quarterfinals, in an
exciting match, Sanderson stopped 2002 World bronze medalist Majid Khodaei of
Iran, 6-5. Sanderson fell behind. and battled back with some outstanding
wrestling late in the match. He also captured two matches in his pool
competition, beating Magomed Kurguliev of Kazakhstan, 4-2 and Siarhei Borchanka
of Belarus, 9-1.
Sanderson earned his spot on the U.S. Olympic Team,
winning the title at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Wrestling in Indianapolis,
Ind in May. He defeated Lee Fullhart (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) in the
championship series, two matches to one.
Sanderson won both of his
matches at the Titan Games, held in Atlanta, Ga in June. He also won a gold
medal at the Manitoba Open in Canada, and a silver medal at the Ivan Yarygin
International in Russia. At the Yarygin Tournament, he defeated 2000 Olympic
champion Adam Saitiev. He also won a silver medal at the U.S. National
Championships in Las Vegas, Nev.
Sanderson was named as a finalist for
the James E. Sullivan Award this year, which recognizes the nation's top amateur
athlete. It is the second time in his career that he has been a finalist for the
In 2002, Sanderson achieved national attention in college at Iowa
State, when he became the first athlete to go undefeated and won four NCAA Div.
I wrestling titles. Sports Illustrated said it was the No. 2 achievement in
college sports history. He is originally from Heber City, Utah.
Wrestling will be announcing major award winners each day this week on
PAST JOHN SMITH AWARD WINNERS AS FREESTYLE WRESTLER OF THE
2004 - Cael Sanderson, Ames, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2003 - Cael
Sanderson, Ames, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2002 - Joe Williams, Iowa City, Iowa,
2001 - Joe Williams, Iowa City, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
Brandon Slay, Amarillo, Texas, Dave Schultz WC
1999 - Stephen Neal,
Bakerfield, Calif., Dave Schultz WC
1998 - Sammie Henson, Norman, Okla.,
1997 - Les Gutches, Corvallis, Ore., Sunkist Kids
Kendall Cross, Raleigh, N.C., Sunkist Kids
1995 - Kevin Jackson, Phoenix,
Ariz., Sunkist Kids
1994 - Melvin Douglas, Mesa, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
- Terry and Tom Brands, Iowa City, Iowa, Team Foxcatcher
1992 - John Smith,
Stillwater, Okla., Sunkist Kids
Cael wins John Smith Award
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