Ukrainian Native Nazar Kulchytskyy Confident He Can Make Run At Spot On U.S. Olympic Team
By Craig Sesker | @ | Titan Mercury WC
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Nazar Kulchytskyy didn’t speak a word of English when he arrived in the United States six years ago.
Now he’s not only an American citizen.
He’s a legitimate contender to land a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in freestyle wrestling at 65 kg/143 lbs.
“My dream has always been to be an Olympic champion – ever since I was a little kid growing up in the Ukraine,” said Kulchytskyy, who moved to the U.S. as a 16-year-old in 2009. “It’s very exciting to think about the Olympics. It’s a huge dream of mine and I think I can get there in 2016.”
When you list the leading contenders for the 2016 United States Olympic Team at 65 kilos, names like Brent Metcalf, Jordan Oliver, Logan Stieber, Jimmy Kennedy, Aaron Pico and James Green come to mind.
But don’t forget about Kulchytskyy, who is coming off a superb performance where he won the Henri Deglane Challenge this past weekend in France.
Kulchytskyy won by technical fall over wrestlers from Iran and Cuba before downing Romania’s George Bucur 8-6 in the finals at 65 kg. Bucur placed eighth at the 2015 World Championships.
“That tournament was big for my confidence,” Kulchytskyy said. “It was my second time cutting down to 65 kilos and I felt so much better this time. I felt amazing. I’m starting to adjust better to the weight class. I haven’t made scratch weight yet, but I think 65 will be a good fit for me.”
Kulchytskyy dropped down to 65 kilos this season after competing at the non-Olympic weight class of 70 kg/154 lbs. last season. He opened some eyes at the 2015 U.S. World Team Trials when he stormed out to a big early lead over James Green before falling 9-7. Green went on to win a World bronze medal.
“That was a really frustrating match,” said Kulchytskyy, who finished fourth at the Trials. “I got off to a great start and I was ahead 8-0 before Green’s coaches challenged a call. They changed the score to 6-0 and we stood around for about five minutes during the challenge. I lost my momentum after the challenge. There were some calls made that I didn’t agree with.
“That was a tough loss. It hurt – it hurt a lot. But I learned from it.”…………..