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BuckyBadger

Why different weights for Free and Greco?

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A few thoughts! The topic was 1st broached when a question was asked by the IOC Sports Department:

"Why are the weight classes and the uniforms the same in the men's Freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines"? The search for an answer found, there no longer is a good answer.

Few, even among the most dedicated Olympic fans, could correctly answer: How many kilograms is Middleweight in Boxing, Judo, Weightlifting, Taekwondo or Wrestling? Even fewer had a clue how the classes have changed over the last 4 Olympic Games. It was difficult to argue, the fans would find it confusing if GR & Freestyle in Middleweight or Welterweight, for example, were different.

Keeping the wtg classes the same, some argued, provided the chance for a wrestler to win or medal in both styles. Research uncovered, the last wrestler to win a medal in both styles was in '72 Olympics--Karlson 74 kg SWE. No wrestler in the past several Olympics could be found to have qualified in both styles.

The median and mean weight of the participants in the past 8 World Championships in Greco-Roman are meaningfully higher than in Freestyle. The number of entries in Greco-Roman is also roughly 8% greater. And, the medalist in GR are more likely to be from parts of the world where the average weight of the population is > than in Freestyle. [Asia vs N. Europe]

At the margin, providing different weight class opportunities for the worldwide wrestling communities got the nod. We all know there are many variables that go into the decision process of wrestlers when choosing the style to pursue. This just may give some aspiring Olympic wrestler in the world a better fit. Besides, as the world evolves there is nothing preventing wrestling from adjusting the weight classes to keep pace.

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Many also may not have noticed the results of the 1st ever Athletes Commission elections held in Budapest. Each entry @ this year's World Championships in all 3 disciplines were provided a ballot and had the right to vote for up to 7 candidates. The voting boxes were located @ various locations in the arena throughout the competition.

Tabulation: 3 women [1 of whom was later elected by the group as the Athletes' FILA Bureau Member], 3 men's GR and 1 men's Freestyle.

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I don't actually mind the different weight classes, as they don't really affect any weight class but heavyweight. They, by no means, increase opportunity (wrestling's selling point) for any but the heaviest weight class. I just wish FILA would stop saying they are looking to simplify wrestling for the viewing audience. No, you aren't. Many of the recent changes do, in fact, accomplish that goal. However, if that was the end game, the weight classes would be the same, you'd still get an extra point for a high amplitude throw in freestyle and we wouldn't have match-winning criteria. The weight class jumps would also be evenly distributed. Still way too much political influence behind the scenes.

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Most of the changes are for the better (and simpler) IMO. A single 4 pt throw is simpler than having a 3 pt throw and a 5 point throw. I did love the 5, but the referees were consistently unable to address it properly.

 

The weigh class jumps are odd. I suppose they want to space the Olympic weighs fairly and then jam in two extras, but either way, 70-74-86 is just bizarre. Even 70-74-84 would have been better. More sensible IMO to bump up to 70-76-86 or thereabouts. That leaves managable gaps at both Olympic and non-Olympic weights. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that with a very marketable Jordan Burroughs ruling 74, some people in power did not want to risk messing with his weight class.. but thats crazy, righÉ

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The number of entries in Greco-Roman is also roughly 8% greater.

 

The people on this forum who beat the "Drop GR to save Freestyle!" drum probably don't realize this fact.

 

if the choice were that simple i would still be in favor of that move, despite the higher total entries in GR.

 

take the top 10 countries in GR. what is the popularity of GR in those sports (by any metric you want to use) compared to the popularity of free in the top 10 freestyle countries, using the same metric?

 

if the popularity level of GR in those countries even comes close to the popularity level of the top freestyle countries then i'll reconsider my opinion. all the 8% more entries in GR tells me is that more countries think they have a shot at competing in GR whereas freestyle is dominated by Russia, Iran, and the a host of 2nd tier countries including the US.

 

more countries might play field hockey than ice hockey, but ice hockey obliterates field hockey in terms of total global popularity.

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And, the medalist in GR are more likely to be from parts of the world where the average weight of the population is > than in Freestyle. [Asia vs N. Europe]

 

i would love to see the source used to back up the theory that Northern Europeans are heavier than Asians. after controlling for poverty and nutrition, i dont think there is any statistically significant difference in the size of scandinavians vs east asians.

 

but even if there's not, i dont have a problem with setting different weight classes. that just seems like an odd justification to me.

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49 northwrestling wrote,

I just wish FILA would stop saying they are looking to simplify wrestling for the viewing audience. No, you aren't. Many of the recent changes do, in fact, accomplish that goal. However, if that was the end game, the weight classes would be the same, you'd still get an extra point for a high amplitude throw in freestyle and we wouldn't have match-winning criteria. The weight class jumps would also be evenly distributed. Still way too much political influence behind the scenes.

 

The object of the rule changes has never been to make the rules 'simpler,' only 'easier to understand for the viewing audience'--perhaps a subtle but certainly not insignificant difference. This mandate in some cases resulted in recommendations that may not have been the consensus view.

Also as a distinction: The new rules were not fashioned, nor the weight classes constructed by the FILA Bureau. More accurately, they are the compilation of the suggestions from the worldwide wrestling community, formulated by the Technical Committee and then ratified by the Bureau, as required by its constitution as the intern'l governing body.

The body of the rules represent the majority or consensus view of the 177 member nations--and more specifically the Athletes Commission 1 of 7 a FILA Bureau member; the Scientific Commission 0 of 5; Medical 2 of 14; and most important the Technical Commission 6 of 20 [4 of 12 attended meeting to compile the final recommendations to the Bureau].

 

Armspin wrote,

Most of the changes are for the better (and simpler) IMO. A single 4 pt throw is simpler than having a 3 pt throw and a 5 point throw. I did love the 5, but the referees were consistently unable to address it properly.

 

Good example! Because the referees, wrestlers and viewing audience often found it difficult to discern what differentiated a 5 or 3 pt maneuver in Freestyle; it was agreed to make it 'easier to understand' to score both 4 pts. The GR community agreed it would be 'simpler' to score both as 4 pts; yet their viewing audience, referees, wrestlers and coaches [distinctly different from freestyle] would find it confusing. How could a 'grand amplitude' throw, the essence of our discipline, be scored the same as a mere throw? Hence it was decided that it would be 'easier for their viewing audience to understand' if they kept the 2 distinct--even if it would be 'simpler' to score both 4pts.

 

As another example, the vast majority felt a takedown where a wrestler takes his/her opponent from standing to the mat by virtue of his/her initiative as opposed to countering an attack and 'passing behind' [as it is referred to in intern'l wrestling community] was worth more. Nonetheless, the same majority realized the 'viewing audience--not to mention the wrestlers, coaches and referees--found it difficult to understand' or even agree on the often subtle difference. Think a snapdown into a front headlock vs. a front headlock counter! This, of course, was intertwined w/ scoring change to increase from 3 pts to 4 pts; all neutral position maneuvers w/ exposure in freestyle.

 

On the flip side, both the GR and Freestyle community agreed it would be 'simpler' to score all turns 2 pts, but not 'easier for the viewing audience to understand.' In fact, most felt the viewing audience would be confused. It was agreed that even the novice fan finds it 'easier to understand' that a hand-to-hand turn is not as well executed as a turn where the wrestler goes across his shoulders or elbows. Think: it'd be 'simpler' if every time a place kicker in USA football kicked it thru the uprights it was scored the same; yet 'the football viewing audience would find it confusing,' if an extra point was equal to a field-goal!

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Were the media and/or marketing commission involved at all in determining "what fans prefer or find simpler/easier to understand" or was that left up to interpretation by the other commissions? Since these are the individuals who are responsible for communicating with the current fan base and attracting new fans, it would seem logical to include them in the conversation. I appreciate the american football analogy, but they have one thing going for them that we don't: A large fan base used to rules based on a century of tradition. I don't know the time line of a kick through the uprights being scored 1 or 3, but I know in my 30 years on the planet, it hasn't changed. How many times have the rules of wrestling changed in the past 30 years? How many times will they change in the next 30 years? If the current trend continues, the answer is too many. While there may be a subtle difference between simpler and easier to understand, I'm not convinced the general public who have never watched wrestling but we want to watch wrestling actually DO understand the subtle differences.

 

Again, I know tons of thought and debate went into these decisions, but I also know that some members of the commissions you mentioned have said that weights, rules, etc. are not even close to what they recommended. I know you have to compromise but some of the decisions (mostly the weight % jumps and especially for the women) do not adhere to logic.

 

Like I said, I actually don't mind the many of the new rules affecting the match, as I already understand the sport and I can adapt. In most cases, they are exactly what I want actually. My biggest issues are with the weights. The fact that 74 kg and 55 kg Womens survived despite throwing the weight percentages jumps off reeks of backstage influence.

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Were the media and/or marketing commission involved at all in determining "what fans prefer or find simpler/easier to understand" or was that left up to interpretation by the other commissions? Since these are the individuals who are responsible for communicating with the current fan base and attracting new fans, it would seem logical to include them in the conversation. I appreciate the american football analogy, but they have one thing going for them that we don't: A large fan base used to rules based on a century of tradition.

 

good point. another difference is the NFL has actual customers whereas FILA has only benefactors.

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49northwrestling wrote,

Were the media and/or marketing commission involved at all in determining "what fans prefer or find simpler/easier to understand" or was that left up to interpretation by the other commissions? Since these are the individuals who are responsible for communicating with the current fan base and attracting new fans, it would seem logical to include them in the conversation.

 

Yes, the Chairman of the Media Commission is also an Executive member of the Technical Commission. In fact, he hosted the 1st working group meeting last year in Budapest where the foundation of the rules were discussed and he participated in the recent meeting held in Switzerland to make the final rule and weight class recommendations.

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49northwrestling wrote,

Were the media and/or marketing commission involved at all in determining "what fans prefer or find simpler/easier to understand" or was that left up to interpretation by the other commissions? Since these are the individuals who are responsible for communicating with the current fan base and attracting new fans, it would seem logical to include them in the conversation.

 

Yes, the Chairman of the Media Commission is also an Executive member of the Technical Commission. In fact, he hosted the 1st working group meeting last year in Budapest where the foundation of the rules were discussed and he participated in the recent meeting held in Switzerland to make the final rule and weight class recommendations.

 

Excellent, you didn't mention that commission in your previous post so I was just making sure. Any chance each commissions recommendations will ever see the light of day? I realize lots of us give you a hard time, but transparency still seems to be key factor missing between FILA and the wrestling community. You can't really blame us for having trust issues.

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I also find it kind of funny that the rules are basically back to what they were last May. I recall many of us on Twitter, Facebook and the forum loving that rule set, then being angry when they threw in the match-ending throws and a 7 point tech out of nowhere. 7 months later, we're back to where we started in the spring.

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I also find it kind of funny that the rules are basically back to what they were last May. I recall many of us on Twitter, Facebook and the forum loving that rule set, then being angry when they threw in the match-ending throws and a 7 point tech out of nowhere. 7 months later, we're back to where we started in the spring.

 

Didn't the May '13 changes initially include the 7 point tech and the match-ending throws? I know that Senior and youth events in the US modified some rules, but I thought that FILA rolled out the 7 point tech right away.

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I also find it kind of funny that the rules are basically back to what they were last May. I recall many of us on Twitter, Facebook and the forum loving that rule set, then being angry when they threw in the match-ending throws and a 7 point tech out of nowhere. 7 months later, we're back to where we started in the spring.

 

Didn't the May '13 changes initially include the 7 point tech and the match-ending throws? I know that Senior and youth events in the US modified some rules, but I thought that FILA rolled out the 7 point tech right away.

 

When it was FIRST announced, the article said 10 points for freestyle/7 for Greco and made no mention of the match-ending throws. The LA event and Battle At The Falls were run under the rules suggested by that article I believe (with the addition of Overtime, however). Then, a couple weeks later, FILA released the official rulebook and the 7 point tech and match-ending throws were included. They claimed they were part of the rules all along and the initial announced ruleset released was done so without their knowledge or prematurely, despite FILA being the ones to release the article. Then there was a bunch of back and forth arguing about who was crazy.

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May 18

 

http://www.fila-official.com/index.php? ... 35&lang=en

 

June 7

 

http://www.fila-official.com/index.php? ... 35&lang=en

 

Now, I have no idea what the time line of these decisions were. However, everyone loved the rules in LA and said the the tech rule and match-ending throw changes were unnecessary. It appears that was the case.

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Stan thank you and Fila for simplifying the rules and thank you for your answers. Please answer these last 2 questions.

 

If Fila does not want overtime can they at least simplify the tie breaking criteria?

 

Why 70-74-86 as weights? Many of us are baffled by this one.

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armspin wrote,

 

Stan thank you and Fila for simplifying the rules and thank you for your answers. Please answer these last 2 questions.

 

If Fila does not want overtime can they at least simplify the tie breaking criteria?

 

Why 70-74-86 as weights? Many of us are baffled by this one

 

I can't emphasize enough the rules are a result of the input from the worldwide wrestling community, not the FILA Bureau--as I assume many define FILA. If the world of wrestling wanted OT, I assume the FILA Bureau would have ratified the recommendation. For example, the Athletes' Commission--whose opinion weighed heavily on the Technical Commission and its recommended changes--offered the following:

"Regarding the new rules, which has made wrestling matches more exciting in general, some of us believed that there are too many ways to win a match that can be confusing for spectators and participants alike (i.e. 2-3 point and 1-5 point actions). Especially when you also have to consider amplitude of points, last point scored and cautions when it is a tie situation. We also debated on the 7 point technical superiority, some suggesting that perhaps it remain 7 points for Greco and 10 for Freestyle. I believe that making it too easy to win cuts down on the length of a match, minimizing the importance of stamina, strategy, and technique while emphasizing power."

All of the Athletes' Commission's suggested changes were incorporated into the recommended modifications. No group or NF--except USA--suggested OT. A member of the Technical Commission during the deliberation broached the subject. The suggestion did not resonate w/ any commission member and I asked if he would like to call for a vote. He indicated: "No, it is not necessary."

 

The 6 Olympic wtg classes served as the foundation of the debate. As one might expect, hundreds weighed-in. Much of the logic centered around the size of wrestlers worldwide where the medals are earned--which differs by style. Of course, many tried to sway the group to their own self-interest. The Scientific Commission helped w/ research regarding avg wtg. [see article]

http://www.gallup.com/poll/150947/self- ... -1990.aspx.

The center wtg. of a well conditioned wrestler in the regions where roughly 60% of the medals are earned was established @ 86-88 kg. Taking a realistic [yet not recommending] approach, it was agreed that a loss of 6-8 kg in a good workout for a well-conditioned, World Class Senior wrestler was the norm. Result: mid-point 80 kg--3 wtg classes above and 3 wtg classes below.

Next the debate centered around the lightest and the heaviest wtg classes. In order to reduce the effect of gaming--it was agreed to drop the lowest and highest and avg the remaining suggestions. Rounding the number resulted in 58 kg., but it was agreed that 57 kg was where we'd start w/ Freestyle for light weight Asian wrestlers. The Athletes suggested the following differences in wtgs (7, 9, 11, 14, 25 kg): 57 + 7= 64; 65 was agreed; 65 + 9 = 74 kg, which was agreed; 74 + 11= 85, 86 was agreed; 86 + 14=100, 97 was agreed [argument--a 97+ kg wrestler could handle a 125 kg wrestler]; 97 + 25= 122 kg, 125 was agreed. After establishing the 6, how many wtg classes for the non-Olympic yrs was discussed. If 7 what wtg, if 8 wtg what 2 wtgs, if 9 what 3 wtgs. Many pushed 9 w/ 80 kg as the 3rd. As a note, there was a bit of gamesmanship in this process and too many in my opinion were motivated by self-interest.

Next phase: Since it was such an important topic, each FILA Bureau member was given the Technical Commission's recommendations and asked to weigh-in. The results were averaged and then the FILA Bureau ratified the results.

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Thank you for the detailed responses Stan.

 

I will continue to hope for OT but can accept that I am in the (worldwide) minority.

 

I'm disappointed, though not surprised, to hear that a lot of self-interest was involved in picking the weights. They would indeed be a lot less confusing if an 80 kg weight were present. I would have killed to have 80 kg as a weight when I competed myself:)

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