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Thursday, October 25, 2012
Gold medal wrestler Blatnick dies at 55

By Franklin McNeil

Jeff Blatnick, who won a gold medal for the United States at the 1984 Olympic Games in Greco-Roman wrestling, died Wednesday due to complications stemming from heart surgery.

The Niskayuna, N.Y., native died at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. He was 55 years old.

Blatnick, who competed in the super heavyweight division during the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, retired from wrestling in 1988.

Upon retirement, Blatnick returned to Niskayuna to coach high school wrestling. He briefly served as UFC announcer.

“He was a good guy,” UFC president Dana White told ESPN Radio in Las Vegas on Wednesday. “When we first bought the company back at UFC 30, he was one of the commentators. He was one of the guys who helped Bob Meyrowitz [the previous owner] start putting some [MMA] rules and regulations.

“He was a very good guy.”

Blatnick was inducted into United States Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1999.

He is survived by his wife, Lori, his mother and two children.