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Do the Greats change in their approach to matches as careers wane

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  To qualify for this post, Greats would be anyone with 3 or more World/Olympic titles and often include additional medals. Sadulaev has been mentioned by a poster as the best he's ever seen. First of all he hasn't seen many of the past Greats to even make that statement. Several people have commented on many Greats who would certainly receive more votes in a survey of informed persons. Actually I find Sadulaev, almost boring these days compared to style in 2014 & 2015, when he was constantly attacking. Did you see one offensive attack vs Snyder; he was only concerned about position. I have observed this trend with many of the Greats through the years; Lee Kemp, IMO the most under-rated US wrestler of all-time, won in his World debut in 1978, beating the top contenders comfortably, but only 3-4 yrs later he was winning by one or 2 pts, often coming from behind , due to his lack of attacks seen in earlier years. There are/were others but my question is why change a winning formula. Granted, with video tape much more accessible today, people are making adjustments to stymie the attackers (much like the Arizona State kid in the finals with S Lee-play the edge and play down-block the whole time). But I see a more fragile reason, they're afraid to lose. Some people after success, with such high expectations from the media, fans, coaches and peers, and maybe even themselves get into a shell and just simply wrestle not to lose. To me, this is Sadulaev today. Go back and look at his earlier years. During John Smith's run, I don't think he let off the gas nearly as much as people were making adjustments to his low single, but John was way more than just a low single guy, he could win with other attacks. JB wins off his constant attacking; his only 2 losses to Sidakov came after he went on defense with under 10-20 sec left, but this a different scenario; this is trying to hold a lead vs wrestling the entire match waiting for the other guy to make a mistake while controlling the center of the mat.

  Still, the wrestling today is way better than the ball-grab and standing single-leg starts that almost ruined wrestling. I refuse to even watch wrestling from that era.

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Weird post.

1.) If somebody says "the best they've seen" you can't tell them they haven't seen enough to have an opinion on what they've seen..... Makes 0 sense... If I get a check for $300 and I say this is the biggest check I've ever got. It doesn't matter what checks you have... What?

2.) Yes wrestlers look hungrier when they're still climbing the mountain.
Yes once they've won a handful of times they can identify unnecessary risks and tighten up their overall gameplay to, "just keep winning championships", regardless of score.
Yes humans become less athletic as they age, so in combat sports they try to limit overall risks/exposure.

Weird post.

*Burroughs example of getting pushed out with no time left by Sidakov has nothing to do with his approach to wrestling.

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Like anything, it depends on when they win them.

For most of the "Eastern European" nations, and Iran, their folks are earning medals at pretty young ages. American wrestlers tend/seem to earn them in their mid-20s, when the traditional powers are mid- to late-career.

I'm sure that folks like JB, Dake, Taylor, Gray, and even Maroulis would tell you that their tactics have been forced to change due to growing physical limitations placed on them by age. Well, Dake might not say that as an adherent to and spokesperson for his training regimine, but you get the idea.

Also, scouting video in near real time is the norm anymore, so that has really changed things for many high level wrestlers. Gone are the days of national/international postage and grainy VHS tapes. It's all in the palm of your hand, baby!

This would be a great topic to bring up to people like Chris Campbell, Big Bruce, Trish Saunders, Rulon Gardner, et al. Heck even Kolat and Cross could kick in some perspective on this topic.

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Could you point me in the direction of a freestyle wrestler in the modern era that's been able to maintain that level of dominance over an extended period of time?

There are a slew of reasons that make it difficult.  I'm not saying "change of approach" isn't one of them, but it wouldn't be #1 on my list.  

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1 hour ago, Tofurky said:

For most of the "Eastern European" nations, and Iran, their folks are earning medals at pretty young ages. American wrestlers tend/seem to earn them in their mid-20s, when the traditional powers are mid- to late-career.

Not sure this is true. JB Snyder Gable Cox etc. Only really Dake and DT of the current bunch that started winning international medals later. 

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11 minutes ago, The Genius said:

Not sure this is true. JB Snyder Gable Cox etc. Only really Dake and DT of the current bunch that started winning international medals later. 

It is true. The results are available to confirm this.

Historically, U.S. medals come after the collegiate years have passed. JB was 24 when he won gold in London. KD was 27 when he won his first senior world championship medal. DT was was also 27 when he won his first senior world championship medal. Gilman was 23. Snyder and Steveson are outliers.

By comparison, historically, the Russians/former Soviet bloc nations, Iranians, Georgians, Turks, et al are earning senior level medals in the 18 to 20-years-old range.

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2 hours ago, Mphillips said:

How many of those, "Russians/former Soviet bloc nations, Iranians, Georgians, Turks, et al" are winning at 24-27?

Winning or continuing to medal?

2021 Worlds results alone show the following champions with their ages in parentheses:

57kg - Gilman (27)

61kg - Magomedov (23)

65kg - Shakhiev (22)

70kg - Gadzhiev (33)

74kg - Dake (30)

79kg - Burroughs (33)

86kg - Yazdanicharati (26)

92kg - Ghasempour (25)

97kg - Sadulaev (25)

125kg - Zare (20)

One of the things to keep in mind is the depth each of those nations have. No one matches Russia, which is why so many Russians wrestle for neighboring nations, but the aforementioned countries seemingly never skip a beat with replacing/unseating "old" talent with new talent. 

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There is the fact that experience and maturity dictate a different approach to winning.

Get a lead and keep it rather than Get a lead and keep piling up the points. 

Younger wrestlers often keep piling on the points while more mature wrestlers often let it ride once they are winning. The goal is the win, not putting on a show. Against top competition results can change fast and one big move means you are suddenly losing. So, get a lead and block out your opponent while only making another move when it is easy to do so rather than taking a chance. See the Sadulaev pin against Snyder compared to the current win where he got a lead and that was basically the match. The fact it looked like a seasoned wrestler against a big High School kid tell me it could have been a 10 point win - if Sadulaev had pushed it, it really looked that easy.

We see big wins against lesser opponents, not usually against top competition.

Lower weights seem to have more of it than the heavier guys.

Age and athleticism plays a part with John Smith and other multi time greats the outliers. Their technique was so superior to opponents they could drill moves in a match without the worry of losing. Maybe "getting caught" on occasion - but knowing anything less than a pin was something they could overcome with their technique and drive.

Then we have the Coaches. Top coaching talent is rare. Getting the best from their wrestlers is tough with so many different styles and body types on a team. Cael & Co are doing a good job overall but Snyder would benefit greatly from lengthy sessions with John Smith and Dan Gable. Smith for technique and refinement and Gable for mental toughness - both would be good complements to his current coaching. 

The US does not have great leadership on a consistent basis and that hurts our program. That we have so many doing well is a testament to individual wrestlers in spite of our National team coaches. Cael without Cunningham? On the College level I think it would mean Penn State is a step lower on the ladder. Team USA with specialized individual coaches matched to the wrestlers - whether a Smith, Gable or whomever - can only help.

Yes, I am prejudiced in this. I am also from the Uetake/Gable era in College wrestling. I watched our guys pick up the pace big time when Danny Gable was on the Olympic and World team and then as he went into coaching. I watched John Smith go from high level to "other world" level and now as he was a commentator during the Olympics. This type of talent in the coaching ranks is being wasted. Put them with Cael, our current World team coaches and start refining our wrestlers rather than just pushing them. Match the coaching to the physical skills and many of our aging wrestlers will have a few more good years left. 

 

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14 hours ago, Tofurky said:

are earning senior level medals in the 18 to 20-years-old range

 

8 hours ago, Tofurky said:

Winning or continuing to medal?

2021 Worlds results alone show the following champions with their ages in parentheses:

 

125kg - Zare (20)

 

Thanks Tofurky.

So one guy in this list, Zare 125.

 

 

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Being a person who often had to train next to the best opponents I had to compete against, it seemed to me that no one really changed their style in any drastic way, but definitely changed how they trained and recovered in drastic ways.

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10 hours ago, Mphillips said:

Thanks Tofurky.

So one guy in this list, Zare 125.

You're welcome, Mphillips.

If you don't know the histories of the competitors who have and continue to place at World Championships and Olympic Games, then it appears my position is over your head.

Edited by Tofurky

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1 hour ago, Tofurky said:

You're welcome, Mphillips.

If you don't know the histories of the competitors who have and continue to place at World Championships and Olympic Games, then it appears my position is over your head.

I thought I was reinforcing our guys being on, "par age" wise? Sorry to frustrate you. 

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