The time for waiting — and talk — is finally over for Nick Gwiazdowski.
The two-time NCAA national champion from Duanesburg is the No. 1 seed at 125kg heading into the freestyle wrestling U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday and Saturday.
It’s been over a year since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed, and now Gwiazdowski will get to see what that extra time preparing while working around COVID-19 restrictions can produce. Only one wrestler from each weight class in each discipline (men’s and women’s freestyle, men’s Greco Roman) will make the Olympic team, so there’s no room for error.
“I’m ready though, preparation has been great, looking forward to the opportunity ahead of me,” Gwiazdowski texted Thursday morning.
The Trials will take place during two sessions each Friday and Saturday, and will be broadcast on NBCSN, Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms. Peacock will carry all 40 hours of competition.
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled from July 23-Aug. 8, with wrestling competition taking place Aug. 1-7.
Coverage of the Trials will begin at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. and 7:30 on Saturday.
There are nine wrestlers competing at heavyweight. As the No. 1 seed, Gwiazdowski gets a bye into the quarterfinals, where he’ll face the winner of the only preliminary bout, between Garrett Ryan (No. 9) and Jordan Wood (8).
The rest of the field at 125kg includes Gable Steveson (2), Mason Parris (3), Dom Bradley (4), Anthony Nelson (5), Daniel Kerkvliet (6) and Tanner Hall (7).
Steveson is fresh off an NCAA national championship for the University of Minnesota, a title Gwiazdowski won for North Carolina State in 2014 and 2015. Steveson won an 8-4 decision over Parris, a junior at Michigan, for the title on March 20.
Head-to-head, Gwiazdowski holds the advantage over the No. 2 seed, but Steveson won their last matchup, 4-1 at the 2020 America’s Cup four months ago.
A World bronze medalist in 2018, Gwiazdowski has been training from his base in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is a member of Wolfpack WC and Titan Mercury WC.