Do you believe in miracles?
Two days ago, in Istanbul Turkey, Frank Molinaro came painfully close to earning one of two last chances to make the Rio Olympics. He lost in the quarterfinals - and that would have crushed anyone. It looked certain that he wasn't going to Rio. But instead of sulking, or throwing in the towel, he stepped back on the mat and kept fighting, even though a 3rd place finish -the best he could hope for - would still be the first spot left out. The bronze he eventually did earn for his fight wasn't one he'd probably ever talk about, even though it was a whale of a fight. Too painful, right?
But now it makes for a pretty incredible story. That's because the international governing body disqualified two wrestlers from the Olympics for failed doping tests. Try to follow along with this one.
Part One: the two who got booted - World #2 (at 70kg) Gadzhiev (Poland) and World #12 (at 65kg) Kvyatkovskyy (Ukraine) - had placed 1st and 2nd at the Euro qualifier, which earned them Olympic spots. Only the top 2 earned spots. But when they were DQ'd from Rio, those two spots went to the 3rd place finishers at the same Euro qualifier: Safaryan (Armenia) and Iakobishvilli (Georgia).
Part Two: as it turns out, Iakobishvilli had traveled to Mongolia to compete for a spot when it appeared he'd fallen just short at the Euro qualifier. He took 2nd place in Mongolia, which earned him a berth (the top 3 made it to Rio). Since he now had a spot from the Euro tournament (via the Euro tournament DQs), the spot he earned in Mongolia was now open. It was given to Boris Novachkov of Bulgaria, who finished 4th in Mongolia.
Part Three: as it turns out, Novachkov had traveled to Turkey to compete for a spot when it appeared he'd fallen just short in Mongolia. He took 1st place in Turkey, which earned him a berth (the top 2 made it to Rio). Since he now had a spot from the Mongolia tournament (via the Euro tournament DQs), the spot he earned in Turkey was now open. And that was awarded to the guy who took 3rd in Turkey - Frank Molinaro.
That is some serious divine providence at work.
Congratulations, Frank! Now go ruin Rio for everyone at 65KG!