Former Wrestler Steve Blackford Killed in Automobile Accident

Sept. 3, 2004

(From USA Wrestling) - Steve Blackford, 28, a three-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Arizona State, was killed in an automobile accident in Colorado on Friday afternoon.

Blackford and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) were traveling on Eastbound I-76 14 miles East of Brush, Colo. when, according to Trooper Gilbert Mares of the Colorado State Patrol Accident Reconstruction Team, the jeep they were in rolled off the right shoulder of the highway. Blackford was ejected from the vehicle.

'We do not suspect that alcohol or drugs played a role in this accident,' Mares stated.

'Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, as well as all of their friends within wrestling,' said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. 'We are also holding Sara in our hearts, hoping for her recovery from this tragic accident. Steve was a fine young man who was a great athlete and an impressive individual. It is a sad day for the wrestling community.'

'The U.S. Olympic Committee extends its condolences to the Blackford family and we grieve with the entire wrestling community at this tragic hour,' stated U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr.

McMann is reportedly in the Colorado Plains Medical Center in Fort Morgan, Colo. Hospital officials could not disclose her condition.

Blackford was enrolled as law school student at Catholic Univ. of America in its Columbus Law School, located in Washington, D.C. McMann was moving from the U.S. Olympic Training Center to live in the Washington, D.C., area to be there with Blackford.

They had just returned from Athens, Greece, where McMann had won a silver medal at the 63 kg/138.75 lbs. division in women's freestyle wrestling.

McMann left Colorado Springs, Colo., this morning, joined up with Blackford and they were on their way to the Washington D.C. area at the time of the accident.

Blackford placed fourth in the 1999 NCAA Championships, third in the 2000 NCAA Championships and fifth in the 2001 NCAA Championships competing at 165 pounds for Arizona State. He was also a USA Wrestling FILA Junior National freestyle champion in 1997.

He is originally from Des Moines, Iowa, where he where he was a two-time Iowa state wrestling champion for Dowling High School.

He is survived by hisparents,Steve and Karen Blackford, andhis two siblings, John and Val.

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