COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Two high-level wrestling tournaments are coming to Colorado Springs, designed to prepare the Americans for a crucial season that serves as a tuneup for the 2012 London Games.
The Kiki Cup, with Greco-Roman competition among six countries, will be held Jan. 29 at the Olympic Training Center, and the Dave Schultz Memorial International, in its 13th year of action with more than 25 nations in all three disciplines, is Feb. 3-5 at the OTC.
A dual meet, the Kiki Cup, formerly known as the Kit Carson Cup and now named after USA Wrestling benefactor Christina "Kiki" Kelley, was contested in the Springs last year following a three-year absence. The U.S. is expected to field four teams representing club programs, joined by Bulgaria, Japan, Poland and a combined Norway-Sweden squad.
U.S. Greco-Roman coach Steve Fraser said, "The day promises to be a very productive and beneficial day. The fact that each U.S. wrestler will get to wrestle each foreign team member, win or lose, is very good for our preparation and development."
Staged in honor of the 1984 Olympic freestyle gold medalist who was murdered in 1996, the Schultz features a double-elimination draw for 21 Greco-Roman, men's freestyle and women's freestyle divisions, with top wrestlers from Canada, Japan, Russia and South Korea. Last year, the U.S. won 27 of 63 medals, including five golds in men's freestyle.
Henry Cejudo, a 2008 Olympic freestyle champion who resumed practice last week after a 29-month layoff, won't wrestle since he's still working into condition. He intends to compete in London at 121 pounds, and he weighs 140-plus pounds, so his earliest return is targeted for Feb. 16-20 at a tournament in Havana.
"I'm in OK shape," Cejudo said. "I'm nowhere near where I should be."
U.S. freestyle coach Zeke Jones said the Schultz is vital because it's "a measurement of where we're at early in the year. ... As you get closer to the Olympics, it becomes more and more competitive." He added, "I don't make predictions, but I think our preparation has been good. . . . I think we've made some good progress. I think we're getting better."