NEW ULM — New Ulm native Ali Bernard, who was defeated in a qualifying match at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials in April, has been selected to the U.S. Olympic team after all.
Bernard was picked after Stephany Lee, the wrestler who beat her at the trials in Iowa City, was thrown off the U.S. team after a positive drug test. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency made the announcement Thursday night, saying Lee had been banned for one year after testing positive for tetrahydrocannabinol acid, a marijuana metabolite, in a sample collected at the Olympic trials.
According to the rules of USA Wrestling, the sport’s national governing body, Lee’s replacement is the next highest-ranked athlete in the 158.5-pound weight class. That’s Bernard, who placed fifth at the 2008 Olympics, and lost to Lee 2-0 in their best-of-three series at the trials.
Accoring to a story in USA Today, Bernard is in Guelph, Canada, where U.S. wrestlers will compete Saturday in the Canada Cup. She said she’s excited for the opportunity to compete in London.
“I’m excited for myself, and that’s what I’m focusing on,” Bernard said by phone. “I need to get focused now. I’m just focusing on getting back into the competitive spirit.”
The London Olympics begin July 27.