Coleman Scott clinches Olympic berth
Coleman Scott could feel something poking out through his ribs. Just breathing hurt.
What really stung was the realization that he went conservative and wasted an opportunity to clinch an Olympic wrestling berth. So in the final match of a best-of-three series in Times Square, Scott didn't take any chances Thursday night. He beat Shawn Bunch with a five-point throw to earn the final spot on the US men's freestyle team in the London Games.
''I wasn't thinking. I just went for it, I guess,'' Scott said. ''I actually envisioned earlier today about ending my deal on a five-point throw. I don't know why — I don't throw anybody. It happened. I was just mind blown.''
The 26-year-old Oklahoma State alum had to win twice Thursday in a wrestle-off at 132 pounds. Warming up before his first match against Reece Humphrey, he felt something pop out in his ribs. Scott thought it might've been cartilage but didn't know exactly what was wrong.
''I wouldn't see a doctor because I didn't want them to tell me something bad,'' he said, adding that he expects to be fine for London.
Scott beat Humphrey 1-0, 0-1, 1-0 — twice winning the ball draw after a scoreless period and converting the takedown from the offensive position.
''That first match I was embarrassed a little bit about the way I performed,'' Scott said.
Scott insisted he recently went two years without winning a ball draw.
''I guess at the right time, right place,'' he said.
He won two more ball draws against Bunch. But in their second match, with Scott one period from victory, Bunch won the ball draw after a scoreless second period.
''I was (ticked) off I lost,'' Scott said. ''I was two minutes away from making the Olympic team in the second match, and I freakin' screwed up and I went there and tried to go ball grab. That's why this second period I went after it. I said, 'Screw it, I'm going after it.' ''
Bunch advanced automatically to the final because he qualified the United States for the London Games in the weight class by placing third in the World Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in China on April 27.
Scott won the weight class at Olympic trials before Bunch secured the country a spot in London. Bunch and Humphrey were held out of trials to train for qualifiers.
Scott went on to win a Freestyle World Cup title last month.
''He could be our most prepared guy right now,'' said US coach Zeke Jones.
The wrestle-off was part of an exhibition held outdoors in the middle of Manhattan between the US and Russia, which the Americans won 4-3.
For the US victories, Logan Stieber beat Akhmed Chakaev at 132 pounds, Jared Frayer beat Dzalaludin Kurbanaliev at 145.5 pounds, Jordan Burroughs beat Kamel Malikov at 163 pounds, and Tervel Dlagnev beat Eduard Bazrov at 264.5 pounds.
Russia's wins were Artas Sanaa over Sam Hazewinkel at 121 pounds, Andrey Valiev over Keith Gavin at 185 pounds, and Shamil Akhmedov over J.D. Bergman at 211.5 pounds.
''It's the best city in the world,'' Scott said. ''I guess it's a little better now, to me.''