What if I told you a week ago that America was within striking distance of repeating as Freestyle World champs without the face of American freestyle wrestling making it to the finals match?
All four of the first day wrestlers medaled, with the Magic Man bringing home a gold on his first world team. The day 2 group has two in the finals and another going for bronze. Kyle Dake Teched his way to the finals and Burroughs beat his biggest foe Frank Chamizo for bronze. Burroughs has to put off personal history of equaling John Smith’s 6 championships for team success. The American team has never gone back to back. Day two America went 6-0. Holy crap.
After Nahshon Garrett withdrew how many people thought that Joe Colon would bring home bronze? Okay, maybe after the first of three Final X matches I did but not after the next two when Garrett went right through him. Then Russia came up really small winning only one match on day two. How often does that happen. Russia, the deepest wrestling country on the planet, laid an egg.
The only underwhelming performance to me was Logan Stieber. He had a tough draw but I think that his performances haven’t been as focused since his 2016 championship.
What has been the difference? I think that it is a few things. American technique has improved. I don’t think that it’s at the level of Russia or Iran but it’s close. Add the off the mat strength and conditioning that Americans do, and the rest of the world doesn’t really believe in, and you see a change. David Taylor opened against Olympic and world champ Yazdanicharati. I’ve watched the match a few times. It looked like Yazdani could get in on Taylor at will, only countered in one scramble. The American relentlessness emerged in the 2nd period. Taylor pushed the pace and it made Yazdani question his goals. Taylor has been the only one to make Yazdani do that, he has crushed it in the consolation bracket Tech, Tech and a Fall. Taylor’s approach isn’t unique, Dake is pushing and crushing. Maybe it’s the Burroughs effect both guys have been unable to make the team because JB was in the way. Now Taylor and Dake are taking that prior heart break and suffering out on the world. To reach your dreams you need to crush your opponents.
If you pay attention to International wrestling you’ve heard Russian and Iranian wrestlers question American off mat training methods. Will Russian and Iranians take note of what is happening and make changes in their training? Depends on how the rest of the championships go. It may take a while.
USA-120 4 for 4 in medal matches