2021 USA Wrestling Olympic Team Trials Watch Party

What Happened With J'den Cox, And What Happens Next?

What Happened With J'den Cox, And What Happens Next?

On Friday, April 2, J'den Cox missed weight at the Olympic Trials. What happened in Fort Worth, and what happens next?

Apr 5, 2021 by David Bray
What Happened With J'den Cox, And What Happens Next?

Before the first whistle blew in Fort Worth at this weekend's US Olympic Trials, USA Wrestling announced that two-time World champion and four-time World and Olympic medalist, J'den Cox had missed weight and would not be allowed to compete. Not surprisingly, this sent shock waves through the wrestling community, and for the entire weekend, that story remained at the top of many people's minds.

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Before the first whistle blew in Fort Worth at this weekend's US Olympic Trials, USA Wrestling announced that two-time World champion and four-time World and Olympic medalist, J'den Cox had missed weight and would not be allowed to compete. Not surprisingly, this sent shock waves through the wrestling community, and for the entire weekend, that story remained at the top of many people's minds.

The idea of a men's freestyle 97 kg bracket without J'den Cox was unthinkable. J'den Cox is one of the US' most decorated wrestlers, and his potential best-of-three series with Kyle Snyder was one of the most anticipated matchups of the weekend. Since that initial announcement, questions have swirled. How could such a seasoned competitor miss weight, and what happens next?

Friday Morning Timeline

According to several accounts from Fort Worth, a fairly clear timeline exists for the morning of Friday, April 2, 2021. At roughly 7:25 a.m., J'den Cox arrived at Dickies Arena believing weigh-ins were from 8:00-8:30. Cox believed weigh-ins were from 8:00-8:30 because that's what he heard from his personal coach, Kevin Jackson.

In reality, United World Wrestling weigh ins conclude two hours prior to the start of competition which means the scales were scheduled to be closed by 8:00 a.m. for the 10:00 a.m. start time.

At 8:04 a.m., Cox first stepped on the scale weighing a few tenths of a kilo over his weight class of 97 kg. After a short workout, he stepped back on the scale at 8:13 a.m., this time weighing 96.9 kg, but since the scales were announced as closed at 8:00 a.m., he had missed weight.

After the saga at the scale, a USA Wrestling committee was asked to vote on whether to allow Cox to compete or not. That committee voted that he would not be allowed to compete.

Throughout the Olympic Trials, Cox was seen practicing in the warm-up room. When he wasn't working out, he walked around the concourse talking with fans, smiling for pictures, and giving away some of his USA Wrestling gear.

What Happens Next?

Both J'den Cox and Kevin Jackson have expressed their intention to pursue further action. When asked about this situation in an interview following the Olympic Trials, USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender said, 

"I think J'den's made some comments that he intends to exhaust his opportunities to be heard further, and certainly that's within his right and something that we won't stand in the way of."

By all accounts, J'den Cox did not make weight during the specified time of weigh-ins. That's clear. The situation becomes murkier because his personal coach, Kevin Jackson, is also a USA Wrestling employee, so the information he received about weigh-in times arguably came from within USA Wrestling. That appears to be a major piece of the argument for Cox's appeal.

So while the 2021 Olympic Trials have concluded, the story of J'den Cox's appeal seems only to have begun. In a Yahoo Sports article, Cox was quoted as saying,

"I’m going to be someone of kindness and of grace. At the same time, when it comes down to doing things, I’m also going to bring the walls down when I have to. That’s just how I roll. That’s how I’ve always been."

The process and timeline for J'den Cox's appeal are unclear at this point, but J'den Cox and Kevin Jackson plan to continue fighting the decision.