less than 34 Olympic medals are on the record for Romanian wrestling. Of those
medals, seven were gold, eight silver and nineteen bronze. Of the seven Olympic
titles, six were won in the Greek-Roman style and only one in free-style. Vasile
Puscasu is Romania's only champion in freestyle wrestling.
Puscasu was born on May 2, 1956, in the commune of Barsanesti, in Bacau county,
in the east, Vasile Puscasu first took up football. When he was sixteen, he won
a village contest in traditional wrestling, tranta, in Romanian. Vasile was
then selected for the juniors' pool of regulars of a local club. Three months
later, he won the national title in a juniors' competition. At the age of 20,
Vasile Puscasu was just about to participate in Montreal Olympics, but he was
maneuvered out of the competition by the then management of the national
seniors' pool of regulars.
Puscasu's first great performance occurred in 1977, when the Romanian wrestler
walked away with the bronze medal he won at the World Championships in
Lausanne. Later on, in the great competitions worldwide, Vasile Puscasu stepped
many times onto a step of the podium, but never on the first one. However,
Puscasu won gold at the Olympic Games in Seoul, in 1988.
to the Olympic Games in South Korea, Vasile Puscasu had a great international
experience, and it was for the third time that he competed in the Olympic Games. Puscasu was a defending European vice-champion and world champion, and
each time he sustained defeats in the final by Soviet challenger Leri Habelov.
At the Olympic Games in Seoul, Vasile Puscas's trail included wins against
Kenya's Maisiba Obwoge, Federal Germany's Wilfried Colling and Georgyi
Karaduchev of Bulgaria. Puscasu also grabbed wins against Istvan Robotka of
Hungary and William Scherr of the United States. In the final, the Romanian
faced Soviet Habelov once again. This time Puscasu adopted the appropriate
tactics in the fight. He won one point, and then went at all lengths to avoid
being trapped into delicate situations. And he did win the final, 1-nil, thus
earning his place among the great Romanian athletes of the twentieth century.
(Translation by Eugen Nasta)