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One to Watch: Tervel Dlagnev

Athletics inspired wrestler to succeed academically

Tervel Diagnev Photo

Tervel Dlagnev
School: University of Nebraska at Kearney
Sport: Wrestling - freestyle 125 kilograms

Dlagnev is a passionate, intense freestyle wrestler who was introduced to wrestling at his Texas high school and wrestled at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Dlagnev quickly rose as a star wrestler, competing in four NCAA championships during his time as a student-athlete. He placed in each NCAA championship: sixth as a freshman (2005) and second as a sophomore (2006) before he won back-to-back titles in his final two years (2007, 2008). After making the 2012 Olympic team, Dlagnev finished fifth. He is looking to become the first U.S. super heavyweight to earn an Olympic medal since 1996.

When to watch: The men's wrestling freestyle 125-kilogram elimination rounds begin at 9 a.m. Eastern time today. The medal rounds begin at 3 p.m. Eastern time today.

Why we're cheering: Dlagnev is a first-generation immigrant from Bulgaria and epitomizes what the American dream is all about. After his parents fled from then-communist Bulgaria when he was 4 years old, Dlagnev was raised in a small Texas town. During high school, Dlagnev realized after placing in the Texas state tournament as an inexperienced junior that he had a chance to wrestle in college. With this motivation for success, he pushed himself to succeed in school and on the wrestling mat and earned a spot on the Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team. As a college wrestler, Dlagnev learned the importance of self-discipline, organization, focus and commitment. He dedicated himself to his studies and wrestling to become one of the best Division II wrestlers of his time.

Others to watch today:

  • Gwen Jorgensen (Triathlon): As a student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jorgensen participated in three varsity sports: cross country, track and field, and swimming. She competed in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, finishing 38th in the triathlon.
  • J'Den Cox (Wrestling - freestyle 86 kilograms): A two-time NCAA champion and three-time All-American at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Cox is competing in his first Olympic games.