AUSTIN, Texas -- Today, USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States, and FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, announced that Bethlehem, Pa., has been selected as one of three cities to host a Final X event. The event will be hosted at Stabler Arena on the campus of Lehigh University, starting at 7 p.m. EST on Saturday, June 23, with exclusive live and on-demand coverage on FloWrestling, as well as on the FloSports apps on iOS, Roku and Apple TV 4.
The Final X series will determine the 2018 U.S. Senior World Teams in men's and women's freestyle. FloWrestling will provide exclusive coverage of all three Final X events. The two other Final X events will be held on June 9 in a city to be announced and June 16 in State College, Pa.
"Final X is not just an event series but a status," FloSports co-founder and CEO Martin Floreani said. "Only the best American wrestlers of our generation make it to Final X, and those that become Final X have the opportunity to represent the most glorious country on earth."
"We are really excited to bring Final X to the campus of Lehigh University, a program with an incredibly rich and deep history in the sport of wrestling," USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender said. "Pat Santoro has continued to build one of America's strongest wrestling programs at Lehigh. Special thanks to Greg Strobel and the administration at Lehigh for making this opportunity happen for wrestling. The Lehigh Valley and Final X promises to be an amazing combination for wrestling."
In Bethlehem, the top two men's and women's freestyle wrestlers in each of six weight classes will compete in a best-of-three series, with winners earning spots on the U.S. Senior World Team to compete at the 2018 World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Oct. 20-28, 2018.
The weight classes assigned to the Final X event in Bethlehem are:
• Men's freestyle weight classes (61 kg, 92 kg, 125 kg)
• Women's freestyle weight classes (50 kg, 53 kg, 57 kg, 65 kg)
The Team Selection procedures for the U.S. World Teams in both styles allow for 2017 Senior World medalists to advance directly to Final X under certain conditions. In men's freestyle, the 2017 World medalist would have to compete in the same weight class as at the 2017 Worlds. In women's freestyle, the World medalist would have to compete in a specific weight class set by the Team Selection procedures.
Based upon these procedures, if they enter the specified weight class, 2017 World champion Helen Maroulis in women's freestyle (57 kg) and 2017 World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski in men's freestyle (125 kg) will advance directly to Final X in Bethlehem. Maroulis was a 2016 Olympic champion and boasts two World titles.
In weight classes which do not have a 2017 World medalist who qualifies for Final X directly, the winner of the 2018 U.S. Open in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 26-28, will advance to Final X. The Final X field will be finalized at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament for men's and women's freestyle, set for Rochester, Minn., May 18-20. Both the U.S. Open and the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament will air live and on-demand only on FloWrestling.com.
Bethlehem, Pa. and Lehigh University have hosted numerous major wrestling events, with the local region considered one of the true wrestling hotbeds in the nation. Five NCAA Division I national championships have been hosted by Lehigh (1933, 1935, 1941, 1948, 1951). The annual National Prep School Wrestling Championships is annually held at Lehigh. In addition, Who's No. 1, the popular pre-season high school all-star event created by FloWrestling, has also been hosted there. The EIWA, the oldest conference in college wrestling, has been hosted by Lehigh 23 times (1915, 1922, 1929, 1937, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1961, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2015).
Information on ordering tickets for the Final X event in Bethlehem will be announced shortly. To access live and on-demand coverage of Final X, users must sign up to become a monthly or annual PRO subscriber on FloWrestling. Either subscription unlocks access to premium content across the entire FloSports network. Watch the events across all screens by downloading the FloSports app on iOS, Roku or Apple TV 4.
For more information, visit FinalX.tv, FloWrestling.com or TheMat.com.
FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, partners with event rights holders and governing bodies to unlock a world of sports coverage that true fans have been waiting for. Through live streaming of premier events, original video programming, and weekly studio shows, FloSports is growing the sports, the events, the athletes and the fans. Current verticals under the FloSports header are Basketball, MMA, Football, Wrestling, Track, Gymnastics and more.
About USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling is the National Governing Body for the sport of wrestling in the United States and, as such, is its representative to the United States Olympic Committee and United World Wrestling, the international wrestling federation. USA Wrestling is the central organization that coordinates amateur wrestling programs in the nation and works to create interest and participation in these programs. USA Wrestling has more than 232,000 members, including athletes, coaches, officials, parents, fans and others who are actively involved in the sport. Its president is Bruce Baumgartner, and its Executive Director is Rich Bender.