It is a sad day in local sports today as Olympic gold medalist and Niskayuna native Jeff Blatnick has passed away at the age of 55 due to complications from heart surgery.

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Blatnick was a wrestling star at Niskayuna high school becoming State champion in 1975. He would attend Springfield College in Massachusetts where he would win various NCAA titles and won the gold medal in the 1984 Olympic games becoming one of the first americans to ever win gold in Greco-Roman Wrestling.

Blatnick had had health problems in the past. In 1982, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, prompting the removal of his spleen and appendix and required chemotherapy when the cancer returned following the 1984 Olympic games forcing him to retire.

Recently Jeff was a wrestling coach at my alma mater Burnt Hills Ballston Lake High School and was also a motivational speaker. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter. His Daughter was good friends with my niece so this truly hits home for me as well.

Rest in Peace Jeff. You are a true American Hero and will be missed by us all.

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