As they raised their five children, Jean Hazewinkel and her husband Albert instilled in them a strong work ethic, determination, diligence and humble submission to the Lord God Almighty.
Those kids worked hard, played hard and prayed hard, too. And there were rewards along the way: the Hazewinkel twins, Jim and Dave, grew to become two-time Olympic wrestlers, both competing in the 1968 games in Mexico City and in the 1972 games in Munich, Germany.
“We’ve been very blessed,” Dave said by telephone from his home in Alabama where he and Jim coach wrestling at the Marion Military Academy.
And now, Jean’s grandson, 28-year old Sam Hazewinkel (Dave’s son) has qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
“I’m very proud of Sammy. This will be a very special time for him. His dad wrestled in the Olympics, and now he will, too,” Jean said, relaxing one evening in her Ramsey home, a home she shares with her third son, Doug, also an accomplished wrestler.
Many of Sam’s extended family members reside in Anoka County, including his maternal grandmother, Marilyn Hill, his aunts and uncles Paul and Ginny Keeney and Brian and Kelli Hill, and many cousins.
“We are all very proud of him also,” said Sam’s Aunt Kelli Hill.
With wrestling in his blood, Sam, a resident of Oklahoma, brings to the Olympics his own extensive list of wrestling accomplishments.
• Two-time U.S. Nationals champion (2005, 2007)
• U.S. World Team Trials runner-up (2005 and 2006)
• Third in 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials
• Third in 2004-2005 U.S. Nationals
• Four-time NCAA All-American at the University of Oklahoma (2004-2007)
And now, Sam’s wrestling genes have him on the Olympic wrestling mat where he will compete in the 2012 London Olympics. Sam’s match is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 10.
“He’ll wrestle in the 121-pound weight class but right now he’s heading to Russia… to get in some more practice before the Olympics,” Dave said April 30.
“I’m just very proud of my son. This is a great time for him,” said Dave, a two-time Olympic wrestler who knows what he’s talking about.
And for 93-year old Mama/Grandma Jean, the pride she felt for her Olympic wrestling twin sons extends to her Olympic wrestling grandson.
“He’ll do really great, my Sammy. I know he will,” she said.
Origin of the Hazewinkel wrestling dynasty
To hear Jean tell it, her twin wrestlers got into the sport only because they were too small to play other sports.
“I never expected this. When they got into high school they wanted to play sports, but they were not tall, so basketball was out. I guess the (wrestling) coach saw them and asked them to wrestle (their junior year), so they tried that and they liked it,” she said.
The coach to whom she refers is Anoka High School’s legendary wrestling coach Ron Malcolm.
And to hear Dave tell it, Malcolm lit a fire that fueled the Hazewinkel twins’ lift-off to the Olympic games.
“Malcolm was great,” Dave said. “He taught us how to get started, taught us everything we needed to know, taught us all the moves. He really got us going.”
And the Hazewinkel twins linked those lessons with their God-given agility and strength, took it to the mat and made it to the finals in the state high school wrestling tournament to cap off their first year wrestling.
Jim finished the state tournament with a silver medal in the 103-pound weight class and Dave took home the championship gold medal in the 95-pound weight class.
And that was their first year wrestling.
From their years as Tornado wrestlers with Anoka High School, the Hazewinkel twins went on to wrestle at St. Cloud State University, then got drafted and wrestled for the all-Army wrestling team, then the world team, then the U.S. Olympic team.
The Hazewinkel twins’ accomplishments on the wrestling mat stretch out long and strong and include the following:
• Jim and Dave are the first brothers and the first twin brothers to be on a Greco Roman world wrestling team at the same time.
• They are also the first to be on a Greco Roman Olympic wrestling team at the same time.
• The Hazewinkel twins have been on six consecutive world and Olympic teams at the same time in Greco Roman wrestling from 1967 to 1972. That’s the most of any two brothers ever.
• Jim and Dave were both voted outstanding wrestlers in a national Tournament in Greco Roman wrestling in 1971.
• Jim is a six-time Masters National Champion in Folkstyle, Freestyle, Greco-Roman and Sombo wrestling.
• Dave is the first American to win a Silver Medal in Greco Roman World Wrestling; he is the first American to win two World Medals in Greco Roman Wrestling; and he is the first American to win two consecutive World Medals in Greco Roman Wrestling.
• Dave is the first American to ever place higher than a Russian in Greco Roman World Wrestling – 1970.
• Dave is an eight-time Senior National Champion in Greco Roman wrestling; he is a two-time Senior National Champion in Sombo; and an eight-time Masters National Champion in Freestyle, Greco, and Sombo.
The Hazewinkel wrestling dynasty is now in its second generation, and Sam Hazewinkel lives the legacy, scoring take-downs, reversals and pins on the 2012 Olympic wrestling mat.
Editor’s note: Source of wrestling biography and career notes includes TheMat.com and marionmilitary.edu.
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]