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Jeff Blatnick, 55; wrestler defeated cancer to win Olympic gold

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Jeff Blatnick, who overcame cancer to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1984 Summer Olympics, has died in New York State at age 55.

Ellis Hospital in Schenectady said Wednesday he died there of heart failure.

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Mr. Blatnick was a high school state champion in suburban Albany in the mid-1970s and won national titles at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

He qualified for the US Olympic team and was a member of the 1980 squad that didn’t compete because the United States boycotted that year’s games in Moscow.

In 1982, he was found to have Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was treated and went into remission in time to win gold in Los Angeles in 1984.

He went on to a career as a sports commentator and motivational speaker.

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