community is excited about Seoul. ''This could be the greatest team
we've ever had,'' says U.S. Olympic freestyle coach Jim Humphrey, who
saw his squad win nine medals at last fall's world championship in
In eight of the 10 weight classes the competition could well boil
down to U.S.-U.S.S.R. matchups. The Soviets may have the three best
wrestlers in the world in Sergei Beloglazov (125.5-pound class),
Arsen Fadzaev (149.5 pounds) and Makharbek Khadartsev (198 pounds).
Beloglazov, 32, won the gold and has triumphed at all six world
championships since then. Fadzaev, 26, and Khadartsev, 22, have been
nearly unbeatable in major international competition.
The Americans have two reigning world champions: 27-year-old Mark
Schultz from Palo Alto, Calif., the 180.5-pound winner at the '84
Olympics, and 21- year-old John Smith of Oklahoma State, at 136.5
pounds. Two other formidable Americans are Kenny Monday (163 pounds),
26, of Oklahoma State, and Nate Carr, 27, who could give Fadzaev a
tough challenge at 149.5 pounds.
The '88 team's hopes for the unofficial team title could hinge on
the superheavyweight matchup between 1984 Olympic champ Bruce
Baumgartner and Soviet Aslan Khadartsev, Makharbek's older brother,
who won the world title last year. Baumgartner has superior ability
but must avoid launching sloppy takedown attempts. If he succeeds,
the team race may be too close to call. -- C.N.