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Bryan’s Blog: Scott ‘Cowboy’ed’ up when it mattered

By Bryan Van Kley

When Coleman Scott looked up to the clock in the third and deciding period of his bronze-medal bout against Japan’s Kenichi Yumoto, he saw a scoreboard that read 1-1. But between him and the board was his Chinese opponent scrambling to get off his back after Scott forced him there for an exclamation point on his Olympic bronze medal.

Coleman Scott’s Olympic story was similar to another former Oklahoma State star who earned a medal: Jamill Kelly (John Sachs image)

Scott then quickly glanced over at the corner and saw a smiling coach and friend in John Smith. The Oklahoma State headman was awfully proud of his pupil for taking home a medal; the only one on an up-and-down day for the U.S. team.

Scott, who had been a perennial bridesmaid in regards to making the U.S. national team, had made the team the hard way this spring and now had an Olympic medal to show for it. When Smith was asked how a guy like Scott made so much improvement in such a short time, he simply said Coleman’s a guy who rises to the occasion when he needs it most. He’s always been that way.

Translate that into layman’s terms. It’s called “Cowboyed up.” After looking over at the Smith starting to celebrate, Scott pounded the mat several times even before the final buzzer sounded.

Then after time was called, he threw his hands in the air looking at Smith, as if to say “we did it.” He then fell backwards to the mat as the boisterous Excel London crowd cheered him on just as much as if it had been the gold-medal match.

Scott would later say he was wrestling with a chip on his shoulder. A lot of people had considered him a long shot to medal. Odds-makers in London had his odds at 50-to-1 to win gold. The former NCAA champ said it flat-out made him angry that Americans wouldn’t view him as a potential finalist. He expected to be there.

That’s why the American wrestling community really needs to view Scott’s win as a team effort from Stillwater. Scott showed just how good of coach John Smith really is, again. Remember Jamill Kelly coming out of nowhere in 2008 to win Olympic silver? I guess after you’ve reeled off six World/Olympic titles in a row, you know a thing or two about getting ready for a big match and peeking at the right time.

U.S. coaches expected Scott to medal. He had a swagger about him coming into the Olympics and on the mats today that said, “This is my mat.” It didn’t matter to him it was his first World or Olympic Team.

When I pressed Smith and Scott how the former Pennsylvania product got that level of confidence, they pointed to the training. He’s put in the time to put himself in position to win this tournament. And Scott made sure to point out, in his now Oklahoma accent, that he’s hung out with Smith and Olympic gold medalist Kenny Monday as much as possible. When you’re around greatness that much he said, it wares off.

Scott brings the medal count to three overall, the second for men’s freestyle.

Jake Herbert and Tervel Dlagnev fell just short today. I thought the officials botched up Herbert’s loss with a very controversial call. It all came down to whether he stopped the action of a double-leg by from the defending World champion from Azerbaijan Sharif Sharifov. After a crazy turn of events, a head table official walked over and overturned the call the official jury had made. And Herbert was sent into consolation, providing Sharifov made the finals, which he did.

Dlagnev made a mistake by staying on his knees too long with his opponent off to his side. The former two-time Olympic champ locked him up in a cradle, and that was the end of it. The fall was called not much after that.

After a 5-0 start to the afternoon session, three straight losses took the wind out of U.S.’s sails.

The final two competitors, Jared Frayer and Jake Varner, have good draws tomorrow and should have good chances to medal. If the two of them come away with a medal or two tomorrow, the American team will end London 2012 on a good note.

Another positive is that there are already a number of people talking about Rio in 2016. This is vastly different from 2008 when everyone knew we’d basically be starting over that next year.

Thank the Living the Dream Medal Fund for a part of that. Scott’s ability to come through today won him $25,000 for Olympic bronze. Burroughs win last night got him $250K.

Check us out on the website, Facebook and Twitter tomorrow to get all the details. Let’s hope the U.S. goes out and wins some more hardware, the Fund pays out some more cash!

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