Everyone loves a good rivalry, and one of the most classic rivalries in international sport is without question the USA versus Russia. It's a rivalry that has been around for decades dating back to the middle of the Cold War and just yesterday when I flicked on to Fox News to amuse myself with their take on the Osama Bin Laden story one reporter compared public reaction to that of when the USA took gold over the Soviets in Hockey in the 1980 Olympic Games. A typically inappropriate comparison but one that shows just how ingrained in the American consciousness this rivalry is.
This Thursday the competition moves from the Ice to the Canvas and from Lake Placid to Times Square as the USA meets Russia in a Freestyle Olympic Style meet in support of the "Beat The Streets" Gala that aims to help bring Wrestling to New York City students. From the official press release:
New York, April 20, 2011 - "Beat The Streets," the New York City-based not-for-profit organization that has brought wrestling to thousands of middle and high school students in New York City, along with USA Wrestling and the New York City Department of Education, today announced their most unique event ever, a freestyle wrestling match featuring some of the world's greatest Olympic-class wrestlers, to be held in Duffy Square in New York's Times Square on Thursday, May 5.
The freestyle wrestling dual meet between defending team world champion Russia and the United States, will be the featured competition for the 2011 Beat the Streets Gala and Benefit, which will be held following the dual meet at the Hard Rock Café. It is being billed as The Battle on Broadway, with "New York Is Wrestling" as the theme of this year's event, which traditionally raises several hundred thousand dollars for programs in five boroughs of New York City. The event is free to the public, and will also be streamed live on TheMat.com by USA Wrestling and be shown on the single largest face LED screen in Times Square.
"There is no grander setting than Times Square to feature some of the world's greatest athletes and to raise awareness for our program, which has given thousands of boys and girls the ability to be more physically fit and learn the life lessons that are essential for success in today's ever-changing world," said Mike Novogratz, Beat The Streets Chairman of the Board. "This event, outdoors in Duffy Square, will provide us with a very unique way to expose our program to thousands who may not be aware of our work, so we are very appreciative of all involved from the City and the Times Square Alliance, as well as USA Wrestling, for helping make this happen."
"We are very proud to be able to help present this very unique event as a way to grow awareness for the sport and all the good work ‘Beat The Streets' does for kids in New York City," said Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director. "It will be a great setting for some of the world's greatest athletes to showcase their skills."
Also according to the official website of USA Wrestling, TheMat reports a number of celebrities from Wrestling, MMA and Entertainment will also be in attendance:
Some of the biggest names in the history of wrestling and mixed martial arts will join with other supporters from the NFL, television and movies in New York’s Duffy Square this Thursday night when the USA meets Russia in a one-of-a-kind dual meet at "The Crossroads of The World." Some of the most legendary names from Olympic and NCAA competition, including Olympic champions Dan Gable, Rulon Gardner, Jeff Blatnick, Kurt Angle, Tom Brands and Kendall Cross, as well as NCAA champions Anthony Robles, Bubba Jenkins and Darrion Caldwell will be on hand for the matchup, which will feature some of the world’s most promising and accomplished wrestlers.
Joining those elite champions will be former Michigan State wrestler and current UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (sic), as well as current NFL stars Justin Tuck, Antonio Garay, Marcus Colston and Willie Colon. Celebrities expected to be in attendance are Beat The Streets supporters Billy Baldwin, Matthew Modine and Nate Parker among others.
Schedule and matches after the jump.
2011 BEAT THE STREETS GALA
New York Is Wrestling
Battle on Broadway
Duffy Square – Times Square at 46th Street in New York, N.Y., May 5
3:00 p.m. – Exhibition Matches – Beat the Streets and PSAL wrestlers
6:00 p.m. – USA vs. Russia freestyle wrestling dual meet
7:30 p.m. – Reception and Awards Ceremony at the Hard Rock Café, 1501 Broadway in New York City, with special musical guest John Rich
The US team line up will include 2008 Olympic Champion Henry Cejudo, 2009 World silver medalist Jake Herbert, 2009 World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev as well as 2010 U.S. World Team member, 2 time NCAA Champion and Dan Hodge trophy winner Brent Metcalf.
Also competing will be this year's 2011 NCAA Division 1 Champion and Hodge trophy winner Jordan Burroughs of Nebraska University, and a New Jersey Native who wowed in this year's tournament with lightning quick double leg take-downs.
USA vs. Russia Freestyle Dual Meet matches
55 kg/121 lbs. – Henry Cejudo (USA) vs. Nariman Israpilov (Russia)
60 kg/132 lbs. – Shawn Bunch (USA) vs. Rasul Murtazaliev (Russia)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Brent Metcalf (USA) vs. Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (Russia)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (USA) vs. Aniuar Geduev (Russia)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Jake Herbert (USA) vs. Andrey Valiev (Russia)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. –Jake Varner (USA) vs. Shamil Akhmedov (Russia)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Tervel Dlagnev (USA) vs. Barsag Kesaev (Russia)
For those unable to be there live and in person, there will be two live webcasts at Flowrestling and TheMat, and a tape delayed broadcast on Fox College Sports starting on Saturday, May 21 at 6:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time and Sunday, May 22 at 12:00 noon and 8:00 p.m. Eastern, with Jason Bryant of USA Wrestling handling play-by-play and Olympic champion Rulon Gardner doing the color commentary. Several replays of the event are expected on Fox College Sports so check your cable or satellite provider's listings.