Posted: Oct 24, 2012 4:12 PM by Q2 Sports
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - Former Big Sky State Games torch lighter Jeff Blatnick died of heart failure Wednesday in a New York hospital.
The 55-year-old was best known for overcoming cancer to win Greco-Roman wrestling gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
He was a high school state champion in suburban Albany in the mid-1970s and won national titles at Springfield College in Massachusetts.
He qualified for the U.S. Olympic team and was a member of the 1980 squad that didn't compete because the U.S. boycotted that year's games in Moscow.
In 1982, he was found to have Hodgkin lymphoma. He was treated and went into remission in time to win gold in Los Angeles in 1984.
"I'm a happy dude," Blatnick said after that win.
He went on to a career as a sports commentator and motivational speaker.