Olympic Gold Medalist Jeff Blatnick
Blatnick's journey to the pinnacle of amateur wrestling is the stuff of legends. He won a berth on the 1980 Olympic team but was denied the opportunity to compete when the United States boycotted the Moscow games over the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Determined to one day wrestle in the Olympics, Blatnick was training for the United States Olympic Team Trials when he was diagnosed with cancer. Although dismissed as a potential Olympic team member by nearly everyone, he won a spot on the 1984 Olympic wrestling team just 18 months after completing chemotherapy. Blatnick was selected by his teammates to carry the American flag during the opening ceremonies and against all odds, he won the gold medal in Los Angles in an incredible display of courage and determination.
The bowl game's Honorary Chair is no stranger to the sport of football, having been both a starter at Niskayuna High School and at Springfield College, as well as a pro prospect. "As much as I love wrestling, football was actually my first sport," Blatnick said. "I have competed in Saratoga Springs many times and know that the Navy and Penn teams will enjoy their experience there as much as I did."
The organizing committee extends its appreciation to Jeff Blatnick for lending his support to the Adirondack Trust Allegiance Bowl, "America's Premier Sprint Football Event."
(Jeff Blatnick's appearance is subject to his availability)