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jeffr_ideal

Top 70 Best wrestlers ever

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Kudos to those who put together the list.  But Lee Kemp deserves to be the 4th highest American in my opinion.  Similar career to Burroughs except he was unable to compete at Olympics due to boycott.  Otherwise, they had almost identical records...and dominance.  Having Slay and Varner ahead of Kemp doesn't add up...except the list makers weight the Olympics much higher than any other criteria.  

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Kudos to those who put together the list.  But Lee Kemp deserves to be the 4th highest American in my opinion.  Similar career to Burroughs except he was unable to compete at Olympics due to boycott.  Otherwise, they had almost identical records...and dominance.  Having Slay and Varner ahead of Kemp doesn't add up...except the list makers weight the Olympics much higher than any other criteria.  

100%.  Kemp was the man for a long stretch in the toughest weight in the US.  He forced Dave Schultz up to 82 kilos--no small feat.  Lightyears over Slay and Varner.

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Having Slay and Varner ahead of Kemp doesn't add up...except the list makers weight the Olympics much higher than any other criteria.

that's exactly why it does add up. the list makers didn't making any editorial decisions beyond deciding what formula to use. once they did, it adds up exactly as they planned it. 

 

I think it's also worth keeping in mind that Soviet wrestlers suffered from the 84 boycott (to the benefit of American wrestlers).

 

But I also agree that IF you were making a list that DIDN'T strictly follow a scoring rubric than Kemp would be ahead of Slay, Varner, etc. 

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Guys who follow this type of thread tend to be smart...very smart about wrestling history.  But most American fans quickly forget how good some wrestlers were.  The top four American wrestlers of all time:  Smith, Bruce, JB and Kemp.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  

Soon to be Kyle Snyder, but yes, you are correct. 

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Guys who follow this type of thread tend to be smart...very smart about wrestling history. But most American fans quickly forget how good some wrestlers were. The top four American wrestlers of all time: Smith, Bruce, JB and Kemp. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I would go a far as to say Kemp has a legitimate argument to be a hair ahead of JB. I'm sure someone will flame me for saying that, and for the record, I'm not even sure I personally buy that argument. But if you look at more than just hardware (which is very important but not the whole story), JB had worse losses and arguably a very comparable run at their respective peaks. On JB's side of the ledger, you could argue he had tougher overall competition (USSR breakup and fewer weights). It's close, the key point being yours: Kemp is absolutely in the top 3/4 conversation.

Edited by wrestlingnerd

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Nerd, You are one of the few posters on here who does not let emotion get in place of facts but I believe I will disagree with you in part. While I think Lee Kemp is anot amazing wrestler, I believe that the Soviet breakup made it much harder as there were many more outstanding wrestlers competing. Also, fewer weights made it even tougher. Kemp may be better but I think it is much more difficult now.

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Nerd, You are one of the few posters on here who does not let emotion get in place of facts but I believe I will disagree with you in part. While I think Lee Kemp is anot amazing wrestler, I believe that the Soviet breakup made it much harder as there were many more outstanding wrestlers competing. Also, fewer weights made it even tougher. Kemp may be better but I think it is much more difficult now.

some of that applies when looking at Baumgartner and Smith as well, not just Kemp..   .

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Nerd, You are one of the few posters on here who does not let emotion get in place of facts but I believe I will disagree with you in part. While I think Lee Kemp is anot amazing wrestler, I believe that the Soviet breakup made it much harder as there were many more outstanding wrestlers competing. Also, fewer weights made it even tougher. Kemp may be better but I think it is much more difficult now.

Good point on the Soviet breakup.  I come from Lee Kemp territory, my dad coached for another HS in the same league. He is legendary in NEO.  It is my understanding that Lee did not start wrestling until the 8th or 9th grade, which is amazing.  Hard to choose between JB and Kemp, but I dont think JB is done yet and will likely eclipse Kemp outright. 

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Kemp had something like a 12-10 or 10-8 record as a high school sophomore.  Then rattled off two state titles, three NCAA titles, and three world titles.  Best snatch single in American history.  One of the most poised wrestlers I've ever seen.  Arch-rival was a guy named Knosp from Germany, who also won a world title.  He is far ahead of any of our one-time World/Olympic champs.

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Connorsdad, I definitely agree with you on those two points and even mentioned them in my original post as "pros" in JB's favor. That said, a clear "con" against JB is that he has some bad losses. If you want to assess a guy's body of work honestly, you have to look at both extremes: best wins and worst losses. At his peak, JB lost to Marable, who didn't even make a world team a weight lower shortly after he beat JB, and then there's the DNP at the last the Olympics.

 

Obviously I'm nitpicking and even stated I don't necessarily subscribe to the theory that Kemp was better. I'd have to think about it a lot more and would still probably favor JB. I'm just saying there's an argument in Kemp's favor and he belongs in the discussion.

Edited by wrestlingnerd

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Let's also note the date -- this was pushed out before the results of Rio and before the medals were stripped by WADA.

 

It's also numerically flawed because the true "Top 70" would cut off at 42, although 42nd place is tied with a bunch of guys, so that'd be Top 80.

 

Top 69 cuts off with 41 (Peterson and Sharifov)

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But when evaluating JB and Kemp I would have to say they are both iconic wrestlers and we are very lucky that they happened to be USA Wrestlers. As far as who is better, I would call it a tie.

Edited by de4856

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Nerd, You are one of the few posters on here who does not let emotion get in place of facts but I believe I will disagree with you in part. While I think Lee Kemp is anot amazing wrestler, I believe that the Soviet breakup made it much harder as there were many more outstanding wrestlers competing. Also, fewer weights made it even tougher. Kemp may be better but I think it is much more difficult now.

 

Wasn't Iran a nonfactor during Kemp's time as well due to the upheaval from their revolution

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