IOWA CITY, IA - APRIL 22: Jake Herbert celebrates his win over Travis Paulson in the 84 kg freestyle weight class during the finals of the US Wrestling Olympic Trials at Carver Hawkeye Arena on April 22, 2012 in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Chicago will be well-represented on the U.S. Olympic wrestling team.
Two of our very own grapplers will make the trip to London in July. At the Olympic Trials in Iowa City on Saturday and Sunday, Ellis Coleman made the Greco-Roman team at 60 kg (132 lbs.), while Jake Herbert will represent the U.S. on the freestyle team at 84 kg.
At 20, he is the youngest on the team. Coleman is best known for his flying squirrel maneuver, a move he used to win a match at the junior world championships that became popular online. However, he is much more than just one move. Coleman, who is from Oak Park, beat another Chicago area wrestler, Joe Betterman, to win the spot.
"People are like, `Oh, you're the Flying Squirrel. You're just a kid who just hits a flip and is a YouTube sensation," Coleman said. "Now they're like, `Oh you're the Flying Squirrel. But there's more to it than just that move.' There's a little bit more grit, a little bit more technique, a little bit more agility and just more versatile human being back there. I like to have that back it up."
The other qualifier, Herbert, is less flashy than the Flying Squirrel.
Herbert won a national championship at Northwestern before wrestling for the U.S. and winning a silver medal at the world championships in 2009. Though he grew up in Pennsylvania, he calls both Chicago and Ann Arbor home.
After beating Travis Paulson to earn his spot, he tweeted that making the team was just his first step on the way to winning gold for the U.S.