Who is... Andy Bisek
Name: Andy Bisek
Country: United States
Weight class: Men's Greco-Roman, 75kg (165 lbs)
- Two-time world championships bronze medalist (2014, 2015)
- Four-time world championships team member (2011, 2013-2015)
- 2015 Pan American Games champion
- Two-time U.S. Open champion (2014, 2015)
- Ended a five-year medal drought at the world championships for the U.S. Greco-Roman team in 2014
Olympic history: Bisek has not previously competed at an Olympic Games. He attended Olympic Team Trials in 2012 as the #2 seed in his weight class, but lost his first-round match.
Olympic outlook: In United World Wrestling's international rankings published on April 8, Bisek is ranked #5 in the world at 75kg. He won bronze medals at both of the last two world championships and will be one of the United States' best shots at a medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2016 Rio Games.
Early days: Bisek grew up in Minnesota and began wrestling when he was 5 years old. In high school, he never captured a state championship - the closest he came was a third-place finish in the 2004 state tournament his senior year. He intended to wrestle collegiately at a Division II school in Minnesota, but over the summer, he wrestled Greco-Roman at the junior nationals and decided to switch his focus full-time from folkstyle to Greco. Bisek changed course, enrolling at Northern Michigan and joining the United States Olympic Education Center program on-campus. He won his first University Nationals title in 2007.
Why Greco-Roman: "I liked [folkstyle] for the team aspect doing dual [meets], but I was having more fun wrestling Greco. [The people involved with Greco] had a little bit different personalities, and it was really focused on just having fun. I never really remember feeling much pressure to win or lose. That early in my career, I was kind of just still learning it, so it wasn't focused just on results. The result is you had fun."
Olympic sacrifices: "I haven't really got to spend much time with [my parents or siblings] in a number of years. Just two or three times a year I get to see them. When I left high school [in 2004], I didn't think that would be the last time I'd get to go deer hunting with my family."
Family life: Bisek and his wife, Ashley, have two children. Ashley is a former Olympic-style weightlifter who competed at Olympic Team Trials in 2004 and 2008. She retired in 2008 after having her third knee surgery. Says Bisek: "She has done so much for me. She has helped me with my weightlifting technique, and has helped me plan my lifting routines, and gives input. She had to let go of her dream, but she's got a hold of mine now, trying to help me get to where I want to be."
Superstitious 'stache: "I've had [the mustache] since the late summer of 2011. Before that, I'd had it maybe a month or two and then would shave it, then grow it back again, then shave it. And I just decided, I think I might have been wrestling better the times I have had it than the times I didn't. So let's keep it."
'Stache stories: "I know a trip in Moscow, I was referred a lot to as 'Chuck Norris.' And then another time, [I was] called 'The Cowboy.'"