Updated 12/12/2012 10:02 PM
Remembering a gold medalist
An Olympic champion was remembered in Burnt Hills. Jeff Blatnick passed away in October. He won gold in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Before Wednesday night’s match between Burnt Hills and Niskayuna, a tribute to Jeff was held. Erin Vannella has more.
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BURNT HILLS, N.Y. -- It was a tribute fit for an Olympian. Gold medalist Jeff Blatnick, who passed away this fall, was honored at Burnt Hill's first home wrestling meet of the season.
Blatnick was a volunteer assistant coach with the Burnt Hills High School wrestling team. And the team Blatnick used to coach was playing his alma mater, Niskayuna High School.
Blatnick won a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
For Blatnick's son, Ian, it was the first varsity wrestling match without his dad on the matt coaching him.
"The crowd definitely helped,” Ian Blatnick said. “I was really happy with the support they gave me and it just felt like the right match. I felt my dad was helping me out on the mat tonight."
"A lot of his friends are seniors and it's sad to see them out there. I wish Jeff was there to see them, but like Ian said, he's here and he's watching over all these boys," said Lori Blatnick, Jeff’s wife.
Ian went on to win his match.
Blanick also served as an Olympic commentator and supported the growth of MMA in his career off the mat.
He was just 55 when he died.