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GranbyTroll

Who was the worst...

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American world finalist of the past 20 years? USA has had a handful of Men's FS wrestlers make it all the way to the finals, lose, and then never medal again. Who was the worst such man out of the bunch? Note: I didn't count Dave Shultz, NYAC, Manitoba Cup, etc. when looking at international titles.

 

Here's my list, but let me know if I missed anyone from 1997-2017!

 

Mike Zadick (2006 Silver, 2008 Olympian 60gk)

 

Pros: In the 2006 semis, Zadick beat 2x Olympic champ Batriov. In 2008 he lost to 3x medalist Fedoryshyn (2008 Silver). 2007 Pan Am Silver, lost to Quintana (2004 60kg Gold).

 

Cons: No international tournament wins. Went 0-2 (he got pulled into repechage!) in 2008 without scoring a point. 0-1 in 2007. 0-1 2010.

 

Bottom Line: Besides his one medal, Zadick was an olympian, made 3 World Teams, beat one 2x OC, and lost to some of the best in his prime (for whatever that’s worth). However, the multiple 0-1 appearances and no international golds don’t reflect well upon Zadick.

 

Jake Herbert (2009 Silver, 2012 Olympian 84kg)

 

Pros: In the 2009 finals, Herbert lost to 4x medalist Sokhiev, and in the semis beat world champ Gadizov (2014 Gold, 2015 Silver 97kg). 2012 he lost to Sharifov (2012 Gold, 2016 Bronze, 2011 Champ) and lost a controversially scored match in repechage to the Turk (no world medals). 2015 Pan-Am Silver, lost to 3x medalist Salas. 2011 Pan-Am Gold.

 

Cons: 2010 went 0-1, lost to Salas. 2011 didn't make the team behind Olympic champ Sanderson (2004 Gold, 2011 5th). 0-1 2015, lost to Sandro (2015 Bronze).  

 

Bottom Line: Herbert also was an olympian with 3 world team appearances and multiple 0-1s. Herbert’s controversial (read “old-school FILA”) 2012 loss, and that he didn’t 0-1 at the Olympics, along with his Pan-Am Gold put him a notch ahead of Zadick.

 

Brandon Slay (2000 Gold*, 76kg)

 

Pros: In 2000, Slay beat the GOAT Saitiev (9x World/Olympic champ) 4-3, one of the two losses of Saitiev’s career.

 

Cons: *In 2000, he lost to Leipold (1994 Gold, 5x medalist) in the finals, but Leipold was stripped of his medals after testing positive. The 2000 Olympics was Slay’s only international competition of note.

 

Bottom Line: Slay only wrestled in one international tournament… but he beat the GOAT in the middle of his string of Olympic Golds. It may be his only quality win, but it’s the biggest win of anyone on this list.

 

Thomas Gilman (2017 Silver, 57kg)

 

Pros: In 2017 he made the world finals right out of college, losing to World Champ and current world #1 Takahashi. 2017 Spanish Grand Prix Gold. 2018 Pan-Am Silver.

 

Cons: In 2017, Gilman’s highest ranked win was against then world #17. On the other side of the 2017 bracket, #1 Takahasi beat the #s 2, 4 and 5 to get to Gilman. Lost to the #16 ranked Cuban, Ortega, at the 2018 Pan-Ams.

 

Bottom Line: Gilman has the least amount of quality wins of anyone on this list, but he’s still just 12 months out of college. Who knows where he’ll end up, but right now his dearth of quality wins really hurts Gilman.

 

Verdict: Thomas Gilman (2017 Silver, 57kg)

 

As a fan of Gilman and the Hawks, and as a former light weight, it pains me to say that Gilman is probably the worst USA world finalist of the last 20 years. His career is just starting, so he'll have a shot at multiple world teams and multiple medals in the future. But then again, people said the same things about Herbert and Zadick.

 

 

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Great post. I don't have much to add except that you could do a follow up post on who was the most disappointing World / Olympic team member. What I have in mind is the disparity between college performance and World / Olympic performance. Ben Askren and Ed Ruth come to mind as recent examples of college standouts who made the world team and then disappointed us by not getting a medal. 

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Counterpoint: Thomas Gilman has won a medal at every World Championship he has competed in and has made every World Team he has attempted to make. The other guys were routinely beat out and failed to make the team in other years so they clearly are not on his level.

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No way would you consider Logan for this. Remember he beat the Olympic champion at the next weight class up that same year (romanov). Also has wins over three time world champion Aliyev, Opan Sat, The freakish Cuban who was just world bronze medalist, And pretty much all the big guns domestically although he’s some as well... those are all outside of his wins at world championships that year.

 

The guys that would merit consideration for this never really had any big time wins outside of their one Cinderella story run.

Edited by Cradle1

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I agree, Eggum never made another world team and only was on a world team because Cael Sanderson didn't want to interrupt his senior year of college, worlds that year being pushed back because of 9/11.  After that I don't think Eggum even made it to the best of 3 in a WTT or OTT again.  

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Garrett Lowney. Although not a Finalist but a One Time Olympic Medalist. His first ever National Team Representative (2000 Sydney Olympics). Made a huge mark in the Pool Elimination Round. Just to get out of his pool, he defeated the clear favorite (Kogouashvili of Russia). After that miracle win, he continued till he lost in the 1/2 Final to eventual Champion the Late Mikael Ljungberg of Sweden. He claimed the Bronze. After that he officially made the World Teams in 2001, 2002, 2003, as well as 2004 Olympics. He did not compete in 2001 due to the tournament getting postponed. He also didn't compete in 2003 from a neck injury. In 2002 and 2004 he went 0-2 in both tournaments. 2002 losing in pool round to reigning World Champion Alexander Bezruchkin (Russia) and eventual Bronze Medalist Ali Mollov (Bulgaria). In 2004 in pool round lost to Ernesto Pena (Cuba) and Lajos Virag (Hungary). Surprisingly except the Late Ljungberg (SWE). The other 4 Lowney lost to in 2002 and 2004 were only one time Medalists.

 

Kerry McCoy. After years from 1998-2003 battling so hard. Only ended with a Silver in 2003 losing to possibly Steroid User Artur Taimazov. I wonder if they can go that far and strip if retesting turns out positive as it did for Taimazov in 2008.

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Garrett Lowney. Although not a Finalist but a One Time Olympic Medalist. His first ever National Team Representative (2000 Sydney Olympics). Made a huge mark in the Pool Elimination Round. Just to get out of his pool, he defeated the clear favorite (Kogouashvili of Russia). After that miracle win, he continued till he lost in the 1/2 Final to eventual Champion the Late Mikael Ljungberg of Sweden. He claimed the Bronze. After that he officially made the World Teams in 2001, 2002, 2003, as well as 2004 Olympics. He did not compete in 2001 due to the tournament getting postponed. He also didn't compete in 2003 from a neck injury. In 2002 and 2004 he went 0-2 in both tournaments. 2002 losing in pool round to reigning World Champion Alexander Bezruchkin (Russia) and eventual Bronze Medalist Ali Mollov (Bulgaria). In 2004 in pool round lost to Ernesto Pena (Cuba) and Lajos Virag (Hungary). Surprisingly except the Late Ljungberg (SWE). The other 4 Lowney lost to in 2002 and 2004 were only one time Medalists.

 

Kerry McCoy. After years from 1998-2003 battling so hard. Only ended with a Silver in 2003 losing to possibly Steroid User Artur Taimazov. I wonder if they can go that far and strip if retesting turns out positive as it did for Taimazov in 2008.

 

Lowney had to quit wrestling because of his neck injury. It wasn't so much that he wasn't talented, after 2000 when he sustained the injury against Ljunberg he just wasn't really the same.  Had he not injured his neck he would have had better results.  

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You are absolutely right. Not to believe how I did not think about that as I wrote the results. It was in the 2000 1/2 he got injured. He still was good but would have in deed had a lot better results if it wasn't for the injury. Injuries do cut athletes short (either from overall competition or from what could of been better results).

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I agree, Eggum never made another world team and only was on a world team because Cael Sanderson didn't want to interrupt his senior year of college, worlds that year being pushed back because of 9/11. After that I don't think Eggum even made it to the best of 3 in a WTT or OTT again.

So you’re saying if it weren’t for the greatest wrestler and coach of all time standing in his way, Eggum may not have been the worst? This is confusing.

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Kerry McCoy. After years from 1998-2003 battling so hard. Only ended with a Silver in 2003 losing to possibly Steroid User Artur Taimazov. I wonder if they can go that far and strip if retesting turns out positive as it did for Taimazov in 2008.

 

i mean, as you also note, Taymazov is a confirmed steroid user. i suppose its possible that he only used steroids during the 2008 olympics and not in any other year but i'm operating under the assumption that he used for the entirety of his senior career and he only happened to get caught at 1 event. 

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Great post btw, love reading people's opinions on this. That said, you idiots who are like, "Don't put down former wrestlers they did more than you'll ever do"... stop it. 
The theme of the post, is essentially who was the most "Rudy", Rudy  in our sport, and I love it... every name listed

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I am disappointed in myself that I didn't know Slay had an asterisk for his gold medal and that he only wrestled in one international tournament ever.  Crazy.  

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TS just used a crude way of asking who the most improbable world finalist has been, which is completely fine.  Has to be Jamill.  Never a state champ, never an AA, never made a US team before or after.

 

If you want to look at the wrestler who made the finals with the least amount of technical skill, I would say Rulon.  He beat really good guys with conditioning, heart, determination, and the ability to follow a game plan to a T.  Comparing guys who win with technical ability vs other intangibles is no knock on anyone's accomplishments IMO.

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