Betts knocked out on first day

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 7, 2012 - 1:25 AM

The St. Michael native was among three Americans eliminated.

view larger photos

  

LONDON - As beginnings go, Chas Betts couldn't have written a better one for his Olympic debut. The St. Michael native walked out to Mat B for his opening Greco-Roman wrestling match Monday, spied his family in seats close to the arena floor at Excel London and incited the crowd with a spectacular five-point throw.

Betts crushed his first opponent in the 84-kilogram (185 pounds) class, beating Keitani Graham of Micronesia 6-0, 1-0 to move on to the next round. He fell to the opposite end of the emotional spectrum when he lost his second match to Cuba's Pablo Shorey Hernandez, then watched on a backstage TV as Shorey Hernandez lost in the quarterfinals. That knocked Betts out of his first Olympics much sooner than he hoped, continuing a disheartening run of early exits for the U.S. Greco-Roman team.

Shorey Hernandez dispatched Betts 1-0, 1-0, then was pinned by Damian Janikowski of Poland. The two other Americans who competed Monday met similar fates. Dremiel Byers (120 kg/264.5 pounds) won his first match, then lost to 2011 world champion Riza Kayaalp of Turkey, who was beaten in the next round to eliminate Byers. After Ellis Coleman lost his 60 kg (132 pounds) opener to Bulgaria's Ivo Angelov, Angelov lost his next match.

Betts and Byers finished in ninth place, and Coleman was 14th. With only one wrestler left to compete, the U.S. Greco-Roman team has a 4-6 record and has not advanced anyone past the round of 16. That leaves it to perhaps the best wrestler on the roster -- Justin Lester, fifth at the world championships last year -- to salvage what has been a disappointing Olympics for the Americans.

"It was great that I got to start that way,'' Betts said. "When I saw I was the first match of the day, I thought it would be pretty neat to start with a big five-pointer like that and get everyone riled up for the rest of the day.

"The loss is tough. I was pretty confident in [Shorey Hernandez] getting to the finals, but it didn't work out. I'm disappointed.''

Betts had wrestled in a tournament of this magnitude only once before, at the 2009 world championships. He was dissatisfied with his finish there and was eager for another shot at a big stage, so he could apply everything he learned.

Graham has trained with U.S. wrestlers, including Minnesotan Jake Clark. Betts defeated him easily as his family and friends -- wearing T-shirts he designed -- snapped photos and waved a large American flag. Then came Shorey Hernandez, the 2010 world silver medalist.

Betts had split a pair of matches with the Cuban earlier this season. Monday, he hoped Shorey Hernandez had been worn out in his opening match against Iranian strongman Habibollah Akhlaghi. But Shorey Hernandez was well prepared for Betts' tactics. He won the first round 1-0 when Betts could not turn him during par terre, and he pushed Betts out of bounds for the only point he needed in the second period to sweep the match.

Betts then had to depend on Shorey Hernandez to keep winning. If he had made it to the finals, Betts would have wrestled again, with a shot at a bronze medal.

"I felt like I left it all out there and pushed as hard as I could,'' Betts said. "I did get nice position a couple of times, but he was right out and away.''

U.S. Olympic coach Steve Fraser lauded Betts for his preparation, conditioning and effort. He had predicted his wrestlers were capable of winning multiple medals, but they now have a chance at only one. The Americans hoped to improve upon their Greco-Roman showings in 2008 and 2004; they won a single bronze medal at each of those Olympics.

"Obviously, we're disappointed,'' Fraser said. "We didn't come here to not win a lot of medals. But it's no easy task. It's the Olympic Games. We didn't do it, that's all I can say. We weren't good enough [Sunday and Monday], but tomorrow's a new day.''

Betts held the same outlook. "I'm not taking a medal home, but you take a lot home from this kind of thing,'' he said. "I got a lot of experience, and it's something I'll never forget for the rest of my life. That's pretty positive."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - R. Hernandez 12:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront
Detroit - M. Scherzer 12:05 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close