By TERRY JONES
© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 30, 2001
BRANDON -- In one of his toughest world tournaments yet, Brandon coach Russ Cozart returned from the world masters championships with his third silver medal.
The tournament was held July 16-19 in Martingy, Switzerland.
This was the 10th year of the tournament, started to provide competition for retired world and Olympic wrestlers. Cozart has competed in nine of the 10 tournaments, winning six gold medals and three silvers. He missed one year because of a broken leg.
The USA team placed second behind Iran, the country scheduled to host next year's masters championships.
Cozart lost 2-1 in the final to a two-time world champion from Germany.
"It is always hard to lose, especially when you work so hard," Cozart said. "However, real sports is so pure. You learn some of your best lessons in life after a loss. Actually, some of the lessons turn out to be the same win or lose after everything is analyzed."
In his first day of competition, Cozart pinned a Hungarian in the second period then major decisioned a Russian 10-0. In his semifinal match Saturday, he major decisioned an Iranian 10-0.
"Martingy is in a beautiful valley surrounded by the Alps," he said. "The mountains looked so pretty and were so close I felt like I could just reach out and touch them.
"Switzerland is a very modern country, and the people really treated us nice. We had very nice rooms with three big meals a day for only $70 a day. It was a great trip."
Cozart said he isn't certain about going to Iran next year. "It has been a wild 10 years competing at the world level," he said.
"I don't know about going to Iran. I will continue to train and make a decision later."