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American Father-Son Olympians
American Father-Son Olympians

Former Oklahoma wrestler Sam Hazewinkel and his father Dave Hazewinkel are the first father and son to each make the U.S. Olympic team.  The Okahoman reports:

But Dave didn’t know it until he picked up the June issue of USA Wrestler. Sam is featured on the cover of the magazine and will wrestle for his country Aug. 10.

Dave and his twin brother, Jim Hazewinkel, coach wrestling at Marion Military Institute and receive the magazine at the Alabama college.

“After we saw what was on it, my wife called them up and told them we wanted to order 20 magazines,” Dave said.

Dave and Jim were members of the 1968 and 1972 Olympic teams. Sam will become the third Hazewinkel to compete at the Olympics.

Sam said he always believed he could become an Olympian.

“Growing up, I used to play with his Olympic ring and put on his jacket and run around the house,” Sam said of his father’s Olympic memorabilia. “So it was always something I thought was attainable, something I thought was reachable.”

Since Sam’s career began at age 5, Dave’s goal was to make sure his son enjoyed wrestling.

“I never put any unbelievable pressure on him,” Dave said.

Sam recalled how his father helped shape his philosophy and love for the sport.

“I know that he’s definitely instilled in me that you’ve got to enjoy it,” Sam said. “If you stop enjoying it, it becomes a job and wrestling’s too hard to be a job, just to go to practice and work hard.”

Sam competed at the 2004 and 2008 U.S. Trials before winning this year. Dave and his family were in Iowa City for the Trials last April.

“I tell you what, it was so much fun when he finally won that last match,” Dave said. “That was good for the morale. We were all standing and yelling.”

Sam said Dave has always been a great motivator and father. He said his father’s outlook on wrestling and life are reasons he had an opportunity for success.

“He did a really good job of never putting that shadow on me,” Sam said. “I never felt like I had to reach his goals or catch up to him. He did a real good job of instilling little things along the way.”