One Greco-Roman athlete who is taking the Olympic postponement in stride is Viktor Lorincz (87 kg, world #1). Lorincz, who is due to turn 30 at the end of this month, became a three-time World medalist this past September when he finished second to Zhan Belenyuk (UKR, world #2), himself a World champ in ’15 and multi-time medal winner.
Like most places in and around Europe (with Sweden being the most notable exception), Hungary is observing coronavirus-influenced lockdown protocols. Even before that, the writing was on the wall, as Budapest was supposed to host the European Olympic Games Qualifier a week after the US got done in Ottawa. Then everything went haywire.
But none of this has sapped the steam out of Lorincz, who is doing his best to roll with the punches. He is not resisting the situation; instead, Lorincz is preparing on his own in the meantime and is just pleased that he and his brother Tamas (’19 World Champion, ’12 Olympic silver) already secured their weights for Tokyo.
“Thank God we have both already obtained the quota for Hungary,” Lorincz told the nation’s official outlet recently. “We need to reprogram ourselves now, because we shouldn’t be on top in four or five months, but next year. From now on, I’m about to turn this situation to my own advantage, we’re doing our thing, and I stand for him, yes, there will be an Olympics next year.”
Still, with the Olympics being put on pause for an entire year, age does enter the equation. Lorincz recognizes that he is no longer in his twenties, but at the same time, he also isn’t about to buy into the idea that it makes too much of a difference. After all, Tamas finally broke through for gold in September, and he is three years older.
“Tomi won a World championship a few months ago, and who would have thought he would make it to the top at almost 33 years old?” Lorincz asked. “Why not do this at the age of 34 at the Olympics? I can mention the example of Uncle Peti (Peter Bacsi), who wrestled for a medal in Rio at the age of 33 and could have fought for gold with a little luck, At the age of 35, he became a World Champion in Budapest! It doesn’t really depend on age, but on your attitude, your willpower, your training work. I know the body wears out, but we can still be stronger and stronger.”
The Lorincz brothers, at 77 and 87 kilos, respectively, were the only two Hungarians to qualify their weight categories in Nur-Sultan. That means Hungary still has four others on the board for whenever the European Qualifier is finally held.
Kukowski Chooses Marquette
The Greco-Roman program at Northern Michigan University will have itself a freshman with a ton of upside coming their way soon. Mac Kukowski announced earlier today that he will join the fray in Marquette beginning this coming fall. Kukowski is originally from Minnesota and had placed in that state’s high school tournament — and took 4th at Fargo two years ago. As soon as he walks into the Superior Dome sometime in the summer, Kukowski will immediately add some much-needed oomph to NMU’s collection of upper-weights.
Excited to announce my commitment to continue my Greco Roman wrestling career at the Olympic training site at Northern Michigan University! Special thanks to all my friends, family, and coaches that have helped me along my journey. Excited for my future as a Wildcat🇺🇸 #GoGreco pic.twitter.com/4VRP1gXJgL
— mac kukowski (@mackukowski) April 6, 2020
In addition to coming up in the Minnesota system, Kukowski has been a part of the High Performance Greco Training Program hosted by Combat’s Lucas Steldt in Wisconsin. When reached for comment, Steldt had this to say about Kukowski’s decision to attend NMU:
“Mac made a substantial investment traveling to Blue River from Minnesota to train every month the last two years. He had some injures in the middle of this training year. Mac is a very talented athlete overall. For USA Greco to acquire such an athlete is just what we need. He is already invested and has deep passion for Greco-Roman wrestling. I am very excited for his future and our future as Team USA. NMU Greco-Roman National Training Center headed by Andy Bisek is heading in the right direction with athletes like Mac.”
From the Archives
We are working on returning to a more consistent schedule for content releases, and are making progress in that regard. But until things are clicking as usual again, now might be a good time to either check out or revisit a few of our most memorable full-length interviews.
Jesse Thielke from May ’16 — Now You Know…
Thielke’s first on-the-record appearance came right after qualifying 59 kilograms in Istanbul for the Rio Olympics. Nearly four years later, it is as engrossing as possible.
Coach Mike Powell from April ’17 — Always Switched On
The Illinois coaching legend opens up about how to create unity within a program, Greco’s influence on folkstyle, and much more.
Sam Hazewinkel from June ’18 — Hazewinkel Following Greco Trials Win at 35
All of the qualities that make Hazewinkel one of the best people in all of wrestling are on full display.
Ellis Coleman from May ’17 — Flying High Back to Reality
The winter of ’17 was when Ellis rediscovered his health — and his mojo — and represented the first of three consecutive years he wound up on the World Team.
Dennis Hall from September ’16 — War Stories
Hall reminisces about all of his incredible competitive accomplishments as only he can in what is still one of our most popular interviews.