Thanks to a surprising string of events that seem straight out of a Hollywood movie, Frank Molinaro is a member of the U.S. Olympic wrestling team. During his collegiate career, Molinaro, a Barnegat, New Jersey, native, was a four-time All-American at Penn State University. As a senior in 2012, he went undefeated (33-0) on the season en route to an NCAA 149-pound championship.
By the time the 2016 Olympic Trials rolled around though, Molinaro was nearly an afterthought in the 65kg (143 lbs) weight class. He did not even receive a ranking in the initial pre-seeds. Molinaro ended up being the #9 seed in the tournament, giving him a tough road to victory. But he began to make noise after a stunning upset of top-seed Brent Metcalf in the quarterfinals, followed by a defeat of four-time NCAA champion Logan Stieber in the semifinals.
Molinaro then took down Aaron Pico in a best-of-three final to win Olympic Trials. There was still work to be done though. Because the United States had not yet qualified the 65kg weight class, it was up to Molinaro to do so at one of two remaining international qualification tournaments. At the last chance qualifier, Molinaro earned bronze, but because he needed to finish inside the top two, it looked like his Olympic dreams were over by the slimmest of margins.
Three days later, United World Wrestling announced that two 65kg wrestlers who had previously qualified for the Olympics had tested positive for meldonium and were having their quota spots stripped. Those quota spots ended up being redistributed in such a way that one of them went to the U.S. and, by extension, Molinaro -- officially making him a 2016 Olympian.