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Old 10-25-2012, 03:17 AM   #1
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Default RIP Jeff Blatnick

Good night Sweet Prince.

Jeff Blatnick dies at 55; won gold in Olympic wrestling in 1984
Jeff Blatnick had overcome cancer to compete in Greco-Roman wrestling at the Los Angeles Games. He carried the U.S. flag at the closing ceremony.

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Jeff Blatnick, who overcame cancer to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, died Wednesday. He was 55.

Blatnick died of complications from heart surgery, USA Wrestling said on its website, citing a report from television station WNYT in Albany, N.Y. Officials at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady confirmed that he died there of heart failure.

Blatnick was a high school state champion in suburban Albany in the mid-1970s and a two-time Division II national champion and three-time Division II All-American at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

He qualified for the U.S. Olympic team and was a member of the 1980 squad that didn't compete because the U.S. boycotted that year's games in Moscow.

In 1982, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, or cancer of the lymph system. After radiation treatment and the removal of his spleen, the disease went into remission, allowing Blatnick to compete at the 1984 Olympics.

He had switched from freestyle to Greco-Roman wrestling, which allows no holds below the hips. At 248 pounds, he competed as a super heavyweight during the contest, held at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Inspired by the memory of his brother, David, who died in a 1977 motorcycle accident, Blatnick defeated 275-pound Tomas Johansson of Sweden in the final to win gold, afterward falling to his knees and crying.

"I'm a happy dude," the 27-year-old Blatnick said through tears in a TV interview at the side of the mat.

Blatnick and his 1984 teammate Steve Fraser became the first Americans to win Olympic gold in Greco-Roman wrestling, and Blatnick carried the U.S. flag at the closing ceremony at the Coliseum.

A year later he suffered a cancer relapse and overcame it again. By 1988 he had retired from competition.

Born July 26, 1957, in Schenectady, Blatnick had spent the last several years volunteering as a high school wrestling coach in upstate New York.

A three-time national champion in Greco-Roman, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1999, served on USA Wrestling's board and worked as a television commentator and as a motivational speaker.

Information on survivors was not immediately available.
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:54 AM   #2
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

RIP big man.

I knew him personally through wrestling (I wrestled one of his guys in the state finals a few years back) and he was definitely a character. One of the first times I talked to him he was telling a story about how he chipped his tooth eating deer jerky he got in Wisconsin

RIP.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

Sad. Just saw this on MMA Junkie. RIP.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

DAMN! RIP Jeff, one of the founding Fathers of legitimising MMA, was integral in implementing the rule structure in the interest of the safety of the fighters. With out him there, along with Big John, the UFC could have died a quick death after Royce and Ken left and the NHB novelty wore off. There'd be no URMMA with out him, and the UFC probably wouldnt have survived the McCain drama

Should be inducted into the Hall of Fame
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:16 AM   #5
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

RIP Jeff!

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Old 10-25-2012, 10:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo View Post
DAMN! RIP Jeff, one of the founding Fathers of legitimising MMA, was integral in implementing the rule structure in the interest of the safety of the fighters. With out him there, along with Big John, the UFC could have died a quick death after Royce and Ken left and the NHB novelty wore off. There'd be no URMMA with out him, and the UFC probably wouldnt have survived the McCain drama

Should be inducted into the Hall of Fame
Exactly this is the kind of guy that needs to be in the HOF for his early contributions.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

He wasn't the most knowledgeable when it came to jujitsu and striking but his commentary and his wrestling background was still the best in the UFC. I was gutted when he was let go.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

Jeff began BJJ classes, not sure if he ever got graded though
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

Still remember him from the 84 Olympics
He is one of the reasons that will always be the greatest Olympics ever imo
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

I always admired Jeff Blatnick. He was a class act. I always wished someone would bring him back as a commentator.

I remember watching Royce Gracie vs Dan Severn for the first time, and I had no idea what a triangle choke was. Neither did Blatnick, but he noticed Severn was in trouble before he tapped. Blatnick saw it immediately, without knowledge of the submission, because of Severn's body language. Blatnick saw the change in Severn's hips and knew he was trying to get away. That may be unimpressive to some of you looking back, but I was impressed by the observation when it happened.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:25 PM   #11
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

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Originally Posted by rekcutnevets View Post
I always admired Jeff Blatnick. He was a class act. I always wished someone would bring him back as a commentator.

I remember watching Royce Gracie vs Dan Severn for the first time, and I had no idea what a triangle choke was. Neither did Blatnick, but he noticed Severn was in trouble before he tapped. Blatnick saw it immediately, without knowledge of the submission, because of Severn's body language. Blatnick saw the change in Severn's hips and knew he was trying to get away. That may be unimpressive to some of you looking back, but I was impressed by the observation when it happened.
Very good observation.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:53 PM   #12
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

Great Champion, great commentator, and a great ambassador to the sport.

I got UFC 2-13, class. After Gracie tapped Severn, Jim Brown gets confrontational and calls out Blatnick on a prediction. Big Jeff kept his cool, and stayed professional.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:33 PM   #13
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Very sad to hear this, and taken from us so young too.

RIP Jeff.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:22 PM   #14
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Default Re: RIP Jeff Blatnick

Quote:
Originally Posted by scurlaruntings View Post
Exactly this is the kind of guy that needs to be in the HOF for his early contributions.
Well reading Danas comments, him and jeff were friendly, so there's no reason not too
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