- Kurt Angle among WWE releases; furloughs also announced
- Kurt Angle, Rusev, other WWE stars furloughed from coronavirus impact, WWE fans sound off
- Kurt Angle
- Kurt Angle Biography
- Honors and Awards
- Experience and Service
- Regular TV Appearances
- Kurt Angle Height, Weight, Age, Family, Wife, Biography & More » StarsUnfolded
- Some Lesser Known Facts About Kurt Angle
- More flavors to Kurt's personality
- Kurt Angle recalls devastation, exultation of Olympic wrestling gold medal
Kurt Angle among WWE releases; furloughs also announced
WWE, one of the few sports organizations still operating during the coronavirus pandemic, announced Wednesday that it is furloughing a portion of its workforce and releasing on-screen talent.
Among the more high-profile names let go were former world champion Kurt Angle, former tag team champions Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, former cruiserweight champion Lio Rush, former 24/7 champion Drake Maverick, former Intercontinental champion Zack Ryder and former U.S. champion Rusev. Referee Mike Chioda, who was the longest-tenured referee in WWE history, having been with the company for more than 20 years, also was let go.
WWE announced the cuts via a release on its website.
Rush, who was the cruiserweight champion as recently as December, acknowledged his release in a tweet, writing: “To all of my fellow co workers, whatever happens today or the remainder of this week….just know, we're all going to be good.”
Veterans Heath Slater, Curt Hawkins, Eric Young, EC3 and Aiden English were also released. Slater is a four-time tag team champion, Hawkins is a two-time tag champion, and EC3 was signed as a high-profile free agent in 2018 after two runs as the TNA heavyweight champion.
The furloughs are part of a financial restructuring that also includes reducing executives' salaries and pausing construction of a new headquarters, the company said in a release. WWE said it expects the furloughs to be temporary.
Angle, the legendary former WWE heavyweight champion and a WWE Hall of Famer, had been working backstage as a producer since his retirement match at WrestleMania 35 in April 2019. Angle, 51, won an Olympic wrestling gold medal in 1996. He was one of WWE's top stars from 1998 to 2006 and won the WWE heavyweight title four times.
Anderson and Gallows were featured leading into WrestleMania earlier this month and were part of the main event of the first night in a Boneyard Match between The Undertaker and AJ Styles. Anderson and Gallows are longtime storyline teammates of Styles.
In an emotional video posted to , Maverick, who won the 24/7 title five times and had been a heavily featured act on television, said he will still be seen in WWE's cruiserweight tournament this month. But after that, his wrestling career is ly over.
“It's affecting people's lives. It's affecting people's jobs. It's affecting the way people make a living,” said Maverick, 37.
“I'm very fortunate that WWE is still allowing me to compete in the NXT cruiserweight title tournament, but it's very ly that those will be the last matches that I ever have.
There's a lot of people I'm not gonna get a chance to say goodbye to that I really love and I really care about. … It's not about a title anymore. It's about my life. It's about the fate of my family, paying my bills.”
Rusev, whose real name is Miroslav Barnyashev, is a three-time WWE U.S. champion and is popular among fans. Rusev, a 37-year-old Bulgaria native, had several memorable storylines over 10 years with WWE, including ones with John Cena, Roman Reigns and Rusev's real-life wife, Lana (CJ Perry), a wrestler and star on TV's “Total Divas.”
Chioda, 53, made his first WWE appearance in 1989. He was the longest-tenured referee in WWE history and regularly was the official in high-profile matches, including The Rock vs. Cena, which headlined WrestleMania XXVIII in 2012.
On Monday, WWE was deemed an essential business in Florida, allowing the company to resume live television shows from its Orlando training facility and Full Sail University in Winter Park.
Essential businesses that are supposed to remain open during Florida's stay-at-home order include those in the health care, financial, energy, food, communications and transportation sectors. A spokesperson from Gov. Ron DeSantis' office told ESPN on Monday that such services were characterized as essential “because they are critical to Florida's economy.”
WWE will run live shows without fans after several weeks of taped programming, a spokesperson confirmed to ESPN.
“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times,” WWE said in a statement Monday.
“We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff.
As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance.”
WWE has three TV shows per week: “Raw” (USA Network) on Monday, “NXT” (USA) on Wednesday and “SmackDown” (Fox) on Friday.
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Kurt Angle, Rusev, other WWE stars furloughed from coronavirus impact, WWE fans sound off
Kurt Angle won an Olympic gold medal in wrestling at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. And over the next 10 years, he became one of the biggest names in the wrestling industry. He either drew high praise or heavy discontent from fans of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
On Wednesday, Angle was one of nearly two dozen stars furloughed by the WWE because of financial issues created by the COVID-19 crisis, also known as the coronavirus pandemic.
Angle on thanked “WWE Universe” for his tenure, calling its followers “the best fans in the world.”
“I wanted 2 say thank you to the WWE for the time I spent there.I made many new friends and had the opportunity to work with so many talented people. To the Superstars, continue to entertain the WWE Universe as well as you possibly can. They're the best fans in the world,” Angle wrote.
I wanted 2 say thank you to the WWE for the time I spent there.I made many new friends and had the opportunity to work with so many talented people. To the Superstars, continue to entertain the WWE Universe as well as you possibly can. Theyâ€™re the best fans in the world. #itstrue
— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) April 15, 2020
Other high-profile names released Wednesday include:
- Former tag team champions Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
- Former U.S. champion Rusev
- Former intercontinental champion Zach Ryder
- Former cruiserweight champion Lio Rush
- Veteran referee Mike Chioda
Chioda had been with the company for more than 20 years, and he was the longest-tenured referee in history for the company.
Kurt Angle during Spike TV's “Scream Awards 2006” – Red Carpet at Pantages Theater in Hollywood, California, United States.Photo by Jason Merritt/FilmMagic
Here's the complete list of athletes and personalities let go:
- Kurt Angle
- Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra)
- Luke Gallows (Drew Hankinson)
- Drake Maverick (James Curtin)
- Mike Chioda
- Rusev (Miroslav Barnyashev)
- Lio Rush (Lionel Green)
- Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers)
- Heath Slater (Heath Miller)
- Zack Ryder (Matthew Cardona)
- No Way Jose (Levis Valenzuela)
- Aiden English (Matthew Rehwoldt)
- Eric Young (Jeremy Fritz)
- EC3 (Michael Hutter)
- Sarah Logan (Sarah Rowe)
- Primo (Edwin Colon)
- Epico (Orlando Colon Nieves)
- Rowan (Joseph Ruud)
- Mike Kanellis (Mike Bennett)
- Maria Kanellis
- Deonna Purrazzo
- Aleksandar Jaksic
Fans began sounding off on once the announcement of WWE furloughs hit the news waves, and here are some of the things they had to say:
Vince McMahonâ€™s last 7 days:- XFL goes bankrupt- cuts a ton of wrestl… sports entertainers- donates $18.5 mill to the trump campaign- a doc shows he probably covered up a murder- named an economic advisor to trump
– WWE named an essential service in Florida#WWEReleases pic..com/fhst4oyOfv
— Paul Little ðŸŽ® (@ItsPaulLittle) April 15, 2020
This is a very sad day for WWE….THAT TOTALLY COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. Such a shame that the McMahon family and certain wrestlers that have 4-10 million dollar contracts really, truly, honestly donâ€™t care about whatâ€™s happening to their employees and cohorts. ðŸ˜” #WWEReleases
— ðŸ˜·Chris SinisterðŸ˜· #ImwithAEWðŸ§¨ (@ChrisSinister86) April 15, 2020
It's a shame to see all the @WWE releases today. What makes it even worse is that they'd typically have their fair share of options to work elsewhere. But given the current state of the world, that's not really the case. And we don't know when it will change.#WWEReleases
— Blake Oestriecher (@BOestriecher) April 15, 2020
The coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China during late 2019, and by April 15, more than 2 million people worldwide have tested positive for the virus, and there have been more than 134,000 deaths around the globe.
In the United States, there have been more than 640,000 cases—the most by any country. The U.S. has more than 28,000 deaths so far, which also leads all countries.
Major sports leagues in America began shutting down, one-by-one, starting when the NBA indefinitely postponed its regular season and subsequent playoffs on March 11 after a player from the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.
One day later, the NHL suspended its season, Major League Baseball canceled the remainder of its spring training and delayed opening its season, and the NCAA canceled its men's and women's basketball tournaments. The NCAA also canceled championships for all spring sports, including baseball, softball, lacrosse and track.
The WWE announced it would continue holding events before empty arenas, including its wildly-popular WrestleMania, which took place over a two-night period two weekends ago.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that the country needed to reopen sports in America, and he named WWE owner Vince McMahon as one of the sports owners/commissioners he would consult during the crisis.
Just last week, McMahon disbanded his XFL.
Kurt Steven Angle (born December 9, 1968) is an American professional wrestler, actor, and retired amateur wrestler.
While at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Angle won numerous accolades, including being a two-time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Heavyweight Wrestling Champion.
After graduating college, Angle won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1995 World Wrestling Championships. He then won a freestyle wrestling gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Angle is one of only four people to complete an amateur wrestling Grand Slam (junior nationals, NCAA, World Championships, Olympics). In 2006, he was named by USA Wrestling as the greatest shoot wrestler ever and one of the top 15 college wrestlers of all time. He was inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 for his amateur accomplishments.
Angle made his first appearance at a professional wrestling event in 1996, with his in-ring debut following in 1998. He signed a long-term contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) that same year, and participated in his first televised storyline in March 1999.
After months of unaired matches, Angle made his official debut in November and received his first major push in the company in February 2000, when he held the European Championship and the Intercontinental Championship simultaneously.
Four months later, he won the King of the Ring tournament, and not long after, began pursuing the WWF Championship, which he won in October; this capped off a rookie year which is considered by many to be the greatest in professional wrestling history.
Throughout his tenure in the WWF/WWE, Angle was a six-time world champion (four reigns as WWF/WWE Champion, one as WCW Champion, and one as WWE's World Heavyweight Champion), a one-time United States Champion, one-time Intercontinental Champion, one-time European Champion, one-time Hardcore Champion, and one-time WWE Tag Team Champion. He is the tenth Triple Crown Champion and the fifth Grand Slam Champion in WWE history.
After leaving WWE, Angle joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), where he became a record six-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion (and the inaugural titleholder), a two-time TNA World Tag Team Champion, and a one-time TNA X Division Champion.
He is the second Triple Crown winner in TNA history and the only one to hold all the required titles at once.
As a part of TNA, Angle also made appearances for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and the Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), where he held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship once.
Between WWF/WWE, TNA, and Japan, Angle has won 13 world championships and 21 total championships. He is the only professional wrestler in history to have won the WWE, World heavyweight, WCW, TNA, and IWGP world championships.
Angle is also a two-time King of the Mountain and a one-time King of the Ring, making him the only person to have been both King of the Ring (WWF) and King of the Mountain (TNA).
In 2010, Wrestling Observer Newsletter named Angle the Wrestler of the Decade for the 2000s, and in 2013, he was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame.
He has headlined numerous pay-per-view events for both WWF/WWE and TNA throughout his career, including the flagship event for both promotions: WrestleMania in WWF/WWE, and Bound for Glory in TNA. Angle is considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time.
Kurt Angle Biography
Kurt Angle grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he still lives and spends time with his family, including his wife and five children.
Since retiring from TNA in 2016, Angle has continued to wrestle as well as act and appear in movies and television events, and promote and support a number of charitable organizations.
Angle recently opened up about his becoming addicted to painkillers, and has created the #AngleStrong initiative to help others battling addiction.
Honors and Awards
Kurt Angle signed with WWE in 1999, and signed with TNA Wrestling on Spike TV in September 2006.
Angle is the first and only 13-time World Heavyweight Champion in professional history to have conquered all TNA and WWE top titles, in addition to TNA’s X Division Championship, the WCW Championship, Intercontinental Championship, European Championship, Hardcore Championships and King of the Ring titles.
Angle is also the only wrestler in history to win every individual title in his first year as a professional. In both 2006 and 2007, Angle was voted by fans worldwide as one of the World’s Greatest Professional wrestlers of all time.
Angle is a 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist, 1995 Olympic Style World Champion, 6-time US National Champion and 2-time US Open Champion. He was NCAA champion in 1990 and 1992, Olympic alternate in 1992, and NCAA runner up in 1991.
Angle has more than 32 years of blood, sweat and tears of experience on the mat, including Espoir national champ and Espoir World silver medalist. Angle was also voted by the NCAA as one of the top fifteen greatest NCAA wrestlers of all time and one of the top five best amateur and Olympic wrestlers of all time.
Angle has been inducted into the National, Pennsylvania, Heinz History Center, Southwestern PA, George Tragos & Lou Thesz, Clarion University, TNA, and International Wrestling halls of fame.
Experience and Service
In addition to using his leadership skills and athletic and entertainment talents, Angle gives his personal time to support many charities, including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Wounded Warriors, Compassion International, Make-A-Wish, the Get Tough on Angina Campaign, Get Out the Vote, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “After School All Stars” and the Ultimate Teen Challenge. Angle continues setting his goals and vision to one day establishing himself as a community leader and to serve as the Chairman on the Presidents Council on Physical Fitness.
Kurt Angle has worked with Fortune 500 companies as a speaker and spokesperson. As an ambassador for both the Olympic Games and Professional Wrestling, Angle has also made many public appearances worldwide for AAFES (Amy Air Force Exchange Service), WalMart, K-Mart, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Walgreens, NASCAR and GNC.
Regular TV Appearances
TNA Wrestling Entertainment (Total Non Stop Action): IMPACT! Sept 2006 – January 2016…HimselfWWE Wrestling (World Wrestling Federation and Entertainment): 1998 – 2006…HimselfRaw, USA Network: 1999 – 2006
Smackdown, SyFy Channel: 1999 – 2006
Kurt Angle Height, Weight, Age, Family, Wife, Biography & More » StarsUnfolded
|Real Name||Kurt Steven Angle|
|Nickname||The Olympic Gold Medalist, King Kurt, The Cyborg, The Wrestling Machine|
|Profession||Professional Wrestler, Actor|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Billed Height||in centimeters- 183 cmin meters- 1.83 min feet inches- 6’|
|Billed Weight||in Kilograms- 100 kgin Pounds- 220 lbs|
|Body Measurements (approx.)||– Chest: 45 Inches- Waist: 36 Inches- Biceps: 17 Inches|
|Hair Color||N/A (Bald)|
|Debut||WWE/WWF (Main roster, in-ring): November 14, 1999 (at Survivor Series)TNA : October 19, 2006|
|Titles Won/Achievements||• Bagged the Gold Medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1996 Summer Olympics• Emerged as the USA Junior Freestyle Champion in 1987• Became the USA Senior Freestyle Champion on two occasions (1995, 1996)• Ranked #1 among Pro Wrestling Illustrated's (PWI) top 500 singles wrestlers in 2001• 1-time WCW Champion• 1-time WCW United States Champion • 1-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion• 4-time WWE/WWF Champion• 1-time WWE Intercontinental Champion• 1-time WWE Tag Team Champion• Winner of the 2000 King of the Ring• 6-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion • 2-time TNA World Tag Team Champion• 1-time TNA X Division Champion|
|Slam/Finishing move||Angle SlamAnkle Lock|
|Date of Birth||9 December 1968|
|Age (as in 2016)||48 Years|
|Birth Place||Mt. Lebanon Township, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Zodiac sign/Sun sign||Sagittarius|
|Hometown||Mt. Lebanon Township, Pennsylvania|
|School||Mt. Lebanon High School, Pennsylvania|
|College/University||Clarion University of Pennsylvania|
|Educational Qualification||Degree in Education|
|Family||Father– Late Dave AngleMother– Late Jackie AngleBrothers– David (Elder)Eric, Elder (wrestler)Johnny, MarkSister– Late Le'Anne Angle (Died of a heroin overdose in 2003)|
|Hobbies||Watching American Football and Soccer, playing the drums|
|Controversies||• Kurt Angle was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol on 4 separate occasions between 2007-2013.• In 2007, Sports Illustrated, a reputed sports magazine, alleged that it had found Kurt Angle's name in the client database of a suspected Performance Enhancement Drugs Distribution Company. Kurt Angle, along with 4 other WWE superstars, including late Eddie Guerrero, was accused of receiving anabolic steroids- trenbolone and nandrolone.• Back in 2009, Kurt Angle's then girlfriend, Trenesha Biggers, accused him of domestic violence. The charges, however, were later dropped after the two reached a mutual decision to avoid any kind of contact.|
|Favorite Sports Teams/Clubs||Pittsburgh Steelers, Rangers F.C.|
|Favorite Wrestlers||Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit, Bret Hart, Seth Rollins|
|Girls, Family & More|
|Affairs/Girlfriends||Trenesha Biggers aka Rhaka Khan (wrestler, model)|
|Wife||Karen Smedley (Wrestling Valet)Giovanna Yannotti (Actress)|
|Children||Son– Kody Angle (from first wife)Daughters– Kyra Angle (from first wife), Giuliana Marie Angle (b. 2011) Sophia Laine Angle (b. 2012), Nicoletta Sky Angle (b. 2016)|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Kurt Angle
- Does Kurt Angle smoke?: Not Known
- Does Kurt Angle drink alcohol?: Yes
- Kurt Angle’s journey has been a very rough one not only because of the injuries suffered in the ring but also because of the tragedies encountered in personal life. His father, who was a crane operator, lost his life in a construction accident when the Angle was only 16 years old. Le Anne, Angle’s sister, died of a heroin overdose just a day before Angle’s much-hyped Iron Man match against The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar. Later, his 62-year-old brother David was found guilty of murdering his wife over a domestic dispute. Angle then lost her mother to cancer in 2015.
- Angle began to wrestle at a very young age. He excelled at both Football and Wrestling while at the high school, eventually becoming an All-State linebacker.
- As a senior, Angle was the 1987 Pennsylvania State Wrestling Champion. In addition, he was a 2-time NCAA Divison I Champion and a 3-time NCAA Division I All-American.
- Trainer Dave Schultz, under the tutelage of whom, Kurt Angle had managed to secure a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics, was murdered by the sponsor of their Olympic team. John Eleuthère du Pont, the accused, was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
- If the above-mentioned tragedies were not enough, Angle fractured two of his cervical vertebrae (herniating two discs) during the trials for the 1996 Summer Olympics. Since the competition was still 5-months away, Angle got the time to recuperate.
- In an interview, he admitted that post his neck injury, he became addicted to the analgesic- Vicodin.
- Looking at his accomplishments, the WWE offered him a developmental contract in 1997. Angle, however, initially turned it down and instead took up the job of a marketing representative for Protos Foods, a company which was famous for its Ostrich meat based food.
- His first stint in the world of professional wrestling came not as a wrestler but as a guest commentator at an ECW event named High Incident. A controversial storyline angle involving a crucifixion, however, worried Kurt Angle about his image being tarnished if he was shown alongside this segment. Thus, he threatened to sue the owner of the promotion, Paul Heyman, if his presence on the event was broadcasted on TV.
- Angle reconsidered his future plans and signed an 8-year contract with the WWE, despite being offered a 10 fight deal worth $1,50,000 by the UFC.
- Several reports indicate that Angle was once involved in a real-life backstage fight with the now deceased wrestler, Eddie Guerrero. It is believed that Eddie was furious with the stiff wrestling style that Angle possessed. Things, however, went control one day when the two wrestlers entered into a backstage brawl. Thanks to fellow wrestler JBL though for intervening and calming things down.
- Angle made a high-impact debut on the main roster. In just 11 months time, Angle won three titles, namely the WWE Championship, the European Championship and the Intercontinental Championship.
- Looking at his injuries, drug & alcohol abuse, and constant fatigue, the WWE terminated his contract and asked him to go to rehab in 2006. Angle, however, thought that nothing was wrong with him, thus parting ways with the company and joining its rival promotion- TNA.
- He was featured on the cover of metal band Emmure’s second album, titled ‘The Respect Issue.’
- To the immense surprise of the WWE fans, Angle was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017.
- As an actor, he has appeared in a number of short films, Chains (2009), End Game (2009), Waking Up (2010), etc.
More flavors to Kurt's personality
Kurt Angle tends to be quite adaptable, and he finds it easy to fit into most social set ups and vocational fields.
There are no particular virtues that can cause an imbalance in Kurt's personality and life, but he has to work hard and persistently to develop those special strengths that he desires to attain.
Learning to be wisely assertive is a major lesson to be taken by Kurt Angle throughout his life.
Tour Kurt's menu and gain more insight into his personality traits, relationships, strengths and weaknesses, s and diss, compatibility with you and with others, and much more.
We invite you to create your own free personality profile, in private and for your eyes only!.
Money matters improve on April 24th 2020 for Kurt Angle, and it is a good day for business in general.
Kurt is a visionary today, with fresh ideas regarding both business and domestic matters. Yet, faulty outcome might be produced where Angle is lacking generosity and honesty in his communication.
Romance is a shaky venue for Kurt Angle today.
An American actor, producer, director, author and a leading star throughout the 1950s and 60s, appearing in over 90 movies, known for serious and dramatic characters, and responsible for helping to end the Hollywood Blacklist of the 1960s
An American actor and comedian
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An American actor, businessman, and animal welfare advocate, whose career in show business began as a child actor on Broadway in Tapestry In Gray starring Melvyn Douglas, was the founder of Natural Balance Pet Foods and National Guide Dog Month, his career spans seven decades of television, and he was best known for his role as patriarch Tom Bradford on the ABC television comedy-drama Eight Is Enough
A Producer, Musician and Actor
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An Athlete, Actor and Football Player
Kurt Angle recalls devastation, exultation of Olympic wrestling gold medal
Kurt Angle doesn’t remember much from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, but he won’t forget that moment of deep emotional pain.
In the 100kg final, Angle and Iranian Abbas Jadidi were tied 1-1 after regulation and an overtime period.. Eight total minutes of wrestling. They also had the same number of passivity calls, forcing a judges’ decision to determine the gold medalist.
After deliberation, the referee stood between each wrestler in the middle of the mat. He held each’s wrist, ready to reveal the champion to the Georgia World Congress Center crowd — and to the athletes. Angle, now 51, has rarely watched video of the match. But he distinctly remembers, in his peripheral vision, Jadidi’s left arm rising.
“I thought I lost,” Angle said by phone this week. “So right away, I was , s—, four more years.”
Turns out, the Iranian was raising his own arm. An instant later, the referee suppressed Jadidi. He lifted Angle’s right arm. The wrestler sobbed.
“I had so much emotion because I was devastated and then I was told that I won,” Angle said. “It was a very odd experience. I didn’t know how to handle it. It felt my father died all over again. That’s how much grief I had. Then, all of a sudden, you won.”
Angle thought of two people immediately after he won, falling to his knees in prayer. First, his father, David, who died in a construction accident when Angle was 16. Second, the 1984 Olympic wrestling champion Dave Schultz, his coach who was murdered by John du Pont six months before the Games.
Angle went on to become one of the most famous U.S. gold medalists of the Atlanta Games, due largely to a two-decade career as a professional wrestler, including as a world heavyweight champion with the WWE.
It would have been different if the referee kept Jadidi’s arm in the air. Angle went into the Olympics knowing it would be his last competition, but only if he took gold. Anything less, and he would continue on, perhaps into his 30s and the 2000 Sydney Games. Despite everything Angle went through just to get to Atlanta.
In the year leading up to the Olympics, Angle lost Schultz, broke his neck at the U.S. Open and, five minutes before each match at the Olympic Trials, received 12 shots of novocaine to numb the pain long enough to advance to the next round. Angle later developed a painkiller addiction.
Angle, a Pennsylvania native, was part of the Foxcatcher club when du Pont shot and killed Schultz. Angle said he wasn’t consulted for the 2014 film “Foxcatcher,” but he thought it was well done save a few instances of dramatic license.
“Unfortunately, I hate to admit this, but if it weren’t for Team Foxcatcher, I probably wouldn’t have won my gold medal,” Angle said. “I probably wouldn’t have known Dave Schultz, and I probably wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I did.
It sucks because, to have to thank John du Pont for the ability of allowing me to pay me to wrestle full time and win a world championship [in 1995] and Olympic gold medal, that was huge, but he killed Dave Schultz. The club would have thrived to this day. It just sucks it turned out the way it did, because it made me the best wrestler in the world.
Dave Schultz had a lot to do with that, but a lot of wrestlers that followed could have not had to worry about money and could have trained and competed.”
Angle shared his gold medal with, he estimated, thousands of people before housing it in a safe.
“The gold was wearing off,” Angle said. “One kid, I remember, I was at an elementary school, and he grabbed my medal by the ribbon and started twirling it around real fast. He let go of it, and it hit the wall. There’s a big dent in my gold medal. That was the last time I brought it to an elementary school.”
Angle announced in 2011, at age 42, that he was training to come back for the 2012 Olympic Trials. He never made it, calling it off with a knee injury.
“But I trained hard for it,” Angle said, noting he still kept up appearances with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. “I will tell you this, I wouldn’t have made the team. My goal was to place in the top three. I just missed the [thrill of] competition.”
It meant that Angle’s last match remained that Olympic final. His last moment as a freestyle wrestler having his arm raised.
“All I wanted to do was win a world championship and an Olympic gold medal, and I did them both,” Angle said, sobbing, just off the mat that night in Atlanta. “If I died tonight, I’d be the happiest man in the world.”
MORE: Most decorated U.S. female Olympian on front line of coronavirus fight
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Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will host “U.S. Figure Skating: A Season’s Best,” a look back at the brightest performances of the abbreviated figure skating season, on NBC on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
The one-hour show will stream on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. Weir will also host a live viewing party on his Instagram, where he and Lipinski will answer questions. A full rundown of featured skaters is here.
The figure skating season ended just before the crown jewel, the world championships in Montreal in late March, which were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Before that, Nathan Chen extended his win streak since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics. Chen, the two-time reigning world champion, won his last 10 full competitions. That included Skate America, the Grand Prix Final and the U.S. Championships this past season, each won by an average margin of 41 points.
Chen and two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu were lining up for a showdown at worlds before sports were shut down.
Alysa Liu was able to finish her season. The 14-year-old repeated as U.S. champion and earned bronze at her junior world championships debut. Earlier in the season, she became the first U.S. woman to land a quadruple jump.
Liu can’t compete in major senior international events until the 2022 Olympic season. When she ascends, she will ly be taking on a deep Russian program.
Three Russian teens in their senior debut seasons topped the world rankings — Aliona Kostornaya, Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova. Weir calls them “the Troika.” Kostornaya led the way with the best blend of jumps and artistry, winning the Grand Prix Final and the European Championships.
French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron again led the way in ice dance, though they suffered a defeat for the first time since the PyeongChang Olympics.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates supplanted Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue as the top U.S.
couple, going a nearly unheard of five years between their first and second national titles.
In pairs, Chinese Sui Wenjing and Han Cong extended their undefeated run since taking silver at the PyeongChang Olympics. They swept Grand Prix and Four Continents titles after missing the 2018 Grand Prix season due to Sui’s stress fracture in her right foot.
MORE: Takeaways from abbreviated 2019-20 figure skating season
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When Canadian ice dancer Kaitlyn Weaver reached out, Carolina Kostner didn’t need to hear specifics. Kostner was on board.
Weaver, a three-time world medalist with Andrew Poje, organized “Open Ice,” a benefit fundraiser for the United Nations’ Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Weaver will host a three-hour talk show from her New York City apartment at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, streaming live on the International Skating Union’s channel. More information is available at Openicelive.com.
Weaver will virtually welcome some of the world’s best figure skaters, including Nathan Chen, Adam Rippon, Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano and Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
The international guests include the Italian Kostner, who has a story to tell.
The world champion and Olympic medalist has been in the same home for about three months with her boyfriend in the Rome area. She had hip surgery near there on Jan. 23, addressing an injury that plagued her for years and is at least partly why she hasn’t competed since the 2018 World Championships.
She said it’s too early to tell whether her return to skating will be purely in non-competitive shows, or if an Olympic-level comeback is possible.
“I’ve tried many different therapies, but the pain just did not get better,” she said Friday. “I am very confident that I will be able to skate again, and I will be able to perform again. I can’t wait. I will slowly build it so that I can skate for many years.
“For sure, my big dream is to be able to compete, represent my country.”
Kostner earned Olympic bronze at age 27 in 2014. Then in PyeongChang, she placed fifth as the oldest Olympic women’s singles skater since 1928.
The March 2018 World Championships were in Milan, leading many to wonder if she would retire there, especially after topping the short program. Kostner ended up fourth.
‘You will feel strongly when it is time to stop,” Kostner said before that event, according to The Associated Press, “and I haven’t felt it yet.”
Kostner is thankful for her current situation. She was planning to stay there for the duration of her physical therapy anyway. Her boyfriend’s place has an outside garden. They cook together and watch movies. He read through Les Misérables.
“Now it’s starting to lighten up a little bit in the borders of the towns,” she said. “Basically, in my own town, I can walk quite freely without being stopped, but as soon as I leave the town, they block you and you need a reason to go out. It’s basically only necessary actions medical reasons or for grocery shopping or for work.”
On Saturday’s show, Kostner said she may join at the same time as Spanish Olympic medalist Javier Fernandez. They could share what life is in two of Europe’s most affected countries.
“I miss skating so much,” she said. “Not because of my injury but because of the whole situation.”
Weaver, born in Texas and a Canadian citizen since 2009, said she developed the benefit idea from watching Rosie O’Donnell‘s streaming Broadway show generate $600,000. She received commitments from more than 50 skaters, coaches and others within the sport to fill the three-hour show.
“The great thing about our skating community is, all competition aside, we’re one big family,” said Weaver, who is co-producing with Jordan Cowan “I reached out, and I asked the question. If I didn’t have a phone number, I got one. This is a time where people are wanting to engage and help.”
Weaver and Poje, who began competing together on the top level in 2007, took the 2019-20 season off to evaluate their future. They planned to attend March’s world championships in Montreal as spectators.
“That could have given us a really good idea as to whether we felt we were missing something,” she said. “When the disease started changing everyone’s lives, obviously that took the primary spot. So we haven’t even considered any other option right now.”
With worlds canceled, Canadians especially missed out on an experience that Kostner knows well. Kostner said she would not trade the honor of carrying her nation’s flag into the 2006 Torino Olympic Opening Ceremony for an Olympic medal. She cherished what could be her last competition two years ago, also in her home country.
“Milan in 2018 felt not a figure skating competition, but it felt a soccer game,” she said. “It felt very special to be appreciated not just because you win a medal or you are a champion, but also as a human being of the career you had, the example you’ve been, the people you’ve inspired.”
MORE: Takeaways from abbreviated figure skating season
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