Two-time World bronze medalist and 2016 Olympian Andy Bisek (Minnesota Storm, 75 kg, world no. 5) has been selected as the US Greco Roman representative for the Beat the Streets Gala. Taking place in Times Square, NYC on May 19th, the Beat the Streets event will feature a meet pitting US men freestyle wrestlers versus Iran while a collection of women’s wrestlers will take on opponents from Canada. It was initially thought that there would be at least several Greco Roman matches but alas, Beat the Streets chose to just stick with the popular Bisek as the lone US Greco contestant.
Facing Bisek will be Korea’s Kim Hyeon-woo (world no. 3), the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2013 World champion. Kim locked up Korea’s berth in the Rio Games at 75 kg when he won the Asian OG Qualifier back in March. Andy Bisek, for his part, qualified 75 kg for the US by virtue of his 2015 World bronze medal and clinched his Olympic team spot just under a month ago in Iowa City. Since then, he has helped run a wrestling camp in Alaska and is currently in Austria training.
If you love Greco and Bisek’s style in particular, this should be quite the showdown. Kim is an aggressive wrestler with a penchant for controlling the ties and looks for big moves wherever he can find them. He’s also proficient in par terre defense, which might provide for some great theater given Bisek’s offensive prowess. However, more than anything this is a great opportunity for Bisek to get in a highly-competitive match following his Olympic Trials win. It will also mark the second time he is participating in the Times Square festivities, as Bisek defeated Yurisandi Hernandez Rios from Cuba in last year’s Beat the Streets event.
The Chaska, Minnesota native might be the only US Greco Roman wrestler actually wrestling, but he won’t be the only one there. Fellow 2016 Olympian Robby Smith (NYAC) has been tabbed as the emcee for the event, which ought to be of some entertainment value on its own for hardcore Greco fans.
The BTS Gala is free – but that doesn’t mean it’s a shoe-in to get in to see the matches. Seating is extremely limited. If you’re interested in attending, it is a good idea to make sure you will be accommodated ahead of time or get their early.