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Sharif Sharifov and other Russian wrestlers competing for other nations

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Looking at the wrestlers on the award stand for 97 kg, I pointed out to my wife that all three medal winners other than Kyle Snyder were actually from Russia, though none were representing the country (not to mention how ironic it is that they all finished higher than Boltukaev). I understand why a lot of Russian wrestlers compete for other countries, but why do a lot of the wrestlers born in Russia and who seemingly still live/train in Russia (like Sharifov in Dagestan) compete for another country?


It seems like Sharifov and Gaizumov have always competed for Azerbaijan despite being born in Russia. In their case, it's not like they couldn't have been top dog in Russia. Any knowledge as to why they chose to wrestle elsewhere so early on in their careers? I remember reading awhile back in Andy Hrovat's blog that Gaizumov still had close ties to Russia in Ossetia and still lived/trained there from time to time.


And if memory serves me, I believe that Sharifov and Sadulaev both live in Makhachkala. Pretty crazy that they competed in the Olympics against each other. Do they ever train together?


Just some thoughts, it was interesting to see medal winners from other countries immediately jump into the arms of Russian fans after their wins. I guess it makes sense when you remember that that part of Russia has so many different ethnic ties that has spread out to surrounding countries.

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