The Press Newspaper
J.D. Bergman graduated from Ohio State University in 2008 with a degree in
"I want to do sports broadcasting," Bergman said, "or even more of a dream job would be acting in TV or movies."
Becoming the next Robert Pattinson or Seth Rogan will have to wait, because Bergman, a two-time state wrestling champion at Oak Harbor High School, is busy chasing his dream of competing at the 2012 Olympics in London.
"I want to make the Olympic team and ultimately win a gold medal," Bergman said. "My short-term goals are to make the 2010 World Team and the 2011 World Team. I'm going to Turkey, Iran, Russia, and Belarus in the next two months and I plan on winning all those tournaments.
"I plan on being the No. 1 guy in our country. Only one guy at each weight gets to compete at the World Championships. Right now I'm ranked third because I got third at the World Team Trials last June."
The 6-2 Bergman, 25, who has been wrestling for 15 years, competes internationally in the 96 kg weight class (211.5 pounds).
Bergman and three other Olympic wrestling hopefuls - J Jaggers, Tervel Dlagnev and Shawn Bunch - practice at the Ohio Regional Training Center in Columbus.
The ORTC is an organization that supports Olympic hopefuls as they train for a spot in the London Olympics. The athletes are provided housing and a monthly stipend for basic living expenses. They also train under the supervision of some of the top wrestling coaches in the world.
"We're making some pretty cool advancements for the sport of wrestling as far as being a regional training center in Ohio," said Bergman, who joined the ORTC in 2008. "We support four guys full-time. We use Ohio State's wrestling room and we have our own website (www.ohiortc.com). We have two of the seven No. 1 (ranked) guys in the country."
The ORTC will hold a fundraiser on Feb. 2 at Hilton Garden Inn at Levis Commons. The featured speaker will be two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin; Bergman will also be one of many other guest speakers.
The fundraiser is being co-promoted by Bergman's uncle, John Fahrbach, and Fahrbach's wife, Julie.
"They're doing a great job promoting and planning this thing and getting it off the ground," Bergman said. "This is the first fundraiser we've done outside of Columbus. Hopefully, we get a big response from Northwest Ohio to support the wrestlers' Olympic dream. It's going to be a pretty cool event."
Bergman will travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., to compete in next month's World Cup team wrestle-off. If he wins the wrestle-off in his weight class, he will compete with the U.S. team at the World Cup in Moscow in March. The World Cup features the top eight teams in the world in a dual-meet format.
Some of the USA's top wrestlers will also compete in tournaments in Turkey and Iran in February.
"If you're good, your focus is to never lose," Bergman said. "I have a lot of competitions coming up. My focus is to stay healthy and train as hard as I can and as smart as I can. I'm trying to be No. 1. I have a good shot.
"If I win the World Cup wrestle-off in Colorado, I should already be ranked at least second. Staying healthy is the biggest thing. I plan on being the No. 1 guy in the U.S. and the World for the next two and a half years."
Bergman, who won state titles for Oak Harbor in 2002 and '03, became a three-time All-American and NCAA tournament runner-up at Ohio State. He has competed all over the world, including at the 2006 University World Games in Mongolia.
"I think I could have won that tournament," Bergman said. "I wrestled for a minute and a half and was beating a kid from China real bad, and then I got thrown and they called it a pin (simply) because I was wearing a 'USA' singlet. In 2004, I went to Beijing and wrestled with the Chinese national team and beat their Olympian that year. They were all upset about that. About a month and a half later he took fifth or sixth in the Olympics."
If he makes the USA Olympic team in 2012, Bergman will be 27 and a first-timer in London. And if he manages to win a gold medal, that acting gig just might open up.
"My job, if you have to give it a title, is an Olympic hopeful for 2012," Bergman said. "There is a chance I don't make an Olympic team ... I'm just trying to make our World Teams and our Olympic team. I wanted to make three World Teams, but I missed that last year because I was coming off a knee injury. My goal right now is to make the 2010 World Team."