USA Triathlon has announced that decorated US Olympic wrestler Matt Ghaffari will serve as a keynote speaker at the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Banquet, set for August 9 in Cleveland. The event will be held in conjunction with the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, taking place at Cleveland’s Edgewater Park from August 11-12.
Ghaffari, a 1992 US Olympian, 1996 Olympic silver medallist and three-time World Championship medallist, will speak about what it means to be successful at the highest levels of amateur and Olympic sport.
Four multisport legends make up the ninth induction class of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame to be honoured at the banquet: four-time US Olympian Hunter Kemper, age-group multisport standouts Donna Smyers and James Ward (posthumous), and Mike Reilly, the ‘Voice of IRONMAN’.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Ghaffari immigrated to the United States as a teenager and competed for his high school wrestling team in New Jersey. He earned an impressive 56-11-2 record during his collegiate career at Cleveland State University, setting the school record for pins as a senior.
Ghaffari, who still calls Cleveland home, went on to a storied amateur wrestling career. He is best known for his silver-medal performance at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he took Russia’s seemingly invincible superstar Aleksandr Karelin into overtime in the gold-medal match before falling, 1-0. He also represented the US at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
Ghaffari is the only US Greco-Roman wrestler in history to earn a total of four World Championship and Olympic medals. He is a four-time World Cup champion and nine-time Pan-American Championships gold medallist, both USA Wrestling records. Ghaffari is also a seven-time USA Wrestling National Champion, two-time Pan American Games gold medallist, and was twice named the US Olympic Committee’s Greco-Roman Athlete of the Year. He is a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
“I am thrilled and honoured to be part of recognizing these dedicated athletes who have accomplished outstanding achievements,” Ghaffari said.
The USA Triathlon Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet will be held at Windows on the River in Cleveland on August 9 starting at 17:30 ET. The event is open to the public, and individual tickets are available for purchase for US$75 at usatriathlon.org/hof.
Corporate or sponsor tables (10 seats) are available for US$1,000, which includes a US$250 donation to the USA Triathlon Foundation. The purchase of a corporate or sponsor table also includes the company’s logo featured in the event program and registration platform, as well as an emcee mention during the ceremony. Those interested in purchasing a table may contact Ellis Davis at ellis.davis[at]usatriathlon.org.
Tickets for the ceremony will be available until Wednesday, August 1, or until the 250-attendee limit is reached.
A US$10 discount on ticket prices for 2018 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships participants has been extended through July 31. Instructions for how to register with the discount will be communicated in upcoming pre-race newsletters; or those interested may email Ellis Davis at ellis.davis[at]usatriathlon.org.