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Angry_Fish

Disappointing Results -- Worlds 2014

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I agree with the comments many are making that a true double elimnation format to the Bronze, or maybe even Round Robin, would greatly enhance the fairness and enternainment value of Worlds.

 

Having said that, everyone knew the rules coming.  And all countries wrestled in the same format. 

 

And our results were disappointing. 

 

1. 57 KG Ramos -- Felt this was our weakest weight coming in and the results bore it out.  Ramos may have a bright future, I have no idea, but I hope the stateside competition for him at this weight improves materially in next 2 years.

 

2, 61KG Kennedy -- Really came into his own this year at this non-olypmic weight.  Was the only top tier American to totally committ himself to this weight --- and the results showed at the US Open and Team Trials. But it did not translate at Worlds.  2015 will have us 1 year closer to the Olympics so I doubt Kennedy will see increased competition back home.  Hopefully he can improve and have better results next year at Worlds.

 

3. 65KG Metcalf --- Lost on a controversial call after getting banged up.  Nevertheless, I think Metcalf going 1-1 was the biggest disappointment for our team.   He dominated a very strong weight class back home but, once again, came home empty handed when competing on the grandest stage.  Brent will only be 29 next year and he was clearly better this year than any other.  I don't think he will be retiring until after making a run at the '16 games, but I expect the likes of Oliver, Pico and Stieber to close the gap next Spring at the US Open and WTT.  Will be interesting to see what happens at this weight class.  If one of those guys does knock him off, I won't be surprised if they end up fairing better against the Interntational Competition than Brent has.

 

4. 70KG Marable --- See 61KK.

 

5. 74KG  "The Champ" --- He has set the bar so high for himself, that a Bronze medal is a disappointment.  Whispers that he is slipping are creeping into westling chatter.  I don't buy it.  I just think the competitiong(at home and abroad) has (and will continue to) improve.  In order for JB to get back to the level of success he is accustomed, he will need to improve as well.  I think there is a great chance he will do so and win a few more World/Olympic Golds.  If not, Dake and Taylor are right there beathing down his kneck.

 

6. 86 KG -- Ed Ruth.  Hard for me to be objective with Ed b/c I am such a fan.  The strides he made year-over-year in FS where phenomenal.  Even when he lost, it was against top international competition and all were competitive matches.  I am hopeful some of his weaknesses are reduced by next year and he becomes a perennial World/Olympic medal winner.  Unfortunately for Ed, barring injury, the Russian at this weight class may not ever lose a match (a bit of hyperbole there, but that kid is unreal).  As for this year, I was hoping Ed would come home with a Bronze or Silver.  Perhaps that was wishful thinking, but am very disappointed he only went 1-1 and think a true Double Elimination (to the bronze) would have helped his chances.

 

7. 97KG -- Varner.  I'm not looking into this result too much.  No-one back home pushed Varner for this spot on the team,  He took '13 off after winning Olympic Gold in '12.  I expect him to be a lot stronger next year.  BTW, he is the same age as Metcalf but it feels like he is younger (at least to me).

 

6, 125 KG Dlagnov.  The lone wrestler on team to meet or exceed realistic hopes/expectations.  Some did predict he would win a Bronze, but many also thought he would continue to fall a round short.  It was great to see him get some hardware.  Despite being a year older than Varner/Metcalf, I think he will own this weight for the US through '16.  Hopefully he catches a break here and there and does even better in '15 & '16 than he did this year.

 

 

FYI -- Personally I don't think wrestling for (or even winning) a bronze medal should get JB and TD byes into next years WTT finals.  That should be reserved for Gold medal winners.  Not a knock on either of them, I just think it is too much of an advantage for a someone who wrestled for Bronze (especially in a repechage format),.

 

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I think this goes to show that the other teams and athletes know how and when to peak for the biggest competitions.  The fans get too excited and put too much emphasis when we beat these guys at events like Beat The Streets. That's just an exhibition for teams we invite and no indication of how and where we stand on the world wrestling stage.

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I think this goes to show that the other teams and athletes know how and when to peak for the biggest competitions.  The fans get too excited and put too much emphasis when we beat these guys at events like Beat The Streets. That's just an exhibition for teams we invite and no indication of how and where we stand on the world wrestling stage.

Even though every competition gives some sort of indication where an athlete may stand - your statement is so true.

I imagine with the Worlds being in the USA next year some guys who perhaps considered "moving on" will give it another go.

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I third that. We can beat the best but generally speaking we can't get a team of guys to leak at the right time. These other countries seem to do a great job of it. Like I said earlier, we lost matches today we coulda/shoulda won, which tells me we weren't getting peak performance from our athletes.

 

Unfortunately 2 medals is around par for the course at the worlds recently. 2 this year, 1 last year, 2 in '11, 0 in '10, 2 in '09, 1 in '07. This year it is more disappointing given the talent and potential of this lineup. In years past, let's face it, guys like Felix, Paulson, Hrovat, Gavin, Bergman, Hazewinkel, not exactly top international threats and I don't think anyone expected a medal from any of those guys. This years team, different story.

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disappointed for sure, but i am also literally in awe of some of the other squads, particularly Russia, for obvious reasons. 

 

they arent hungrier or more intense, but more comfortable out on the mat. fearless yet in control. its almost like a different sport over seas (and in Cuba!)

 

still, respect to our team. they sacrificed a lot just to get there and then left it all on the mat, despite not preforming as well as they and we hoped and expected. 

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I know what you mean about being in awe of Russia. The first year I ever really paid attention to international wrestling was in '07. I remember reading headlines on themat.com in '06 about how our teams did, and they did pretty good, so I decided to try and follow in '07. Well, that year Russia won 6 gold and a bronze in 7 weights. Talk about incredible! I was hooked on Russian wrestling since. I love Flo's coverage of Russian nationals and I look forward to the worlds more and more every year, especially with the increased level of coverage.

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disappointed for sure, but i am also literally in awe of some of the other squads, particularly Russia, for obvious reasons. 

 

they arent hungrier or more intense, but more comfortable out on the mat. fearless yet in control. its almost like a different sport over seas (and in Cuba!)

 

still, respect to our team. they sacrificed a lot just to get there and then left it all on the mat, despite not preforming as well as they and we hoped and expected. 

 

100% agree that the Russians appear fearless, yet in control, but IMO they are way more aggressive than USA offensively. I thought  too many of our guys wasted precious mat time on their feet in neutral trying to "not make a mistake" instead of going after opponents and scoring a lot of points. Then they end up losing close matches on "mistakes" anyway. So frustrating. 

 

Not bashing our guys, I know how hard they worked to get there, and I realize how tough the World is, but I was anticipating so much more offensive effort from Team USA.

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For close to the last decade, once the Worlds/Olympics have completed and we as fans sit back and opine on the results, I often wonder how our guys go to tournaments to just wrestle and not necessarily compete. By that I mean going out there to improve themselves by feeling their way through positions and not worrying about the wins. I understand that money is involved and this is how most of these guys eat and pay their rent/mortgage, but it seems to me that a lot of other countries, those that are consistently successful, don't place the emphasis on winning and dominating the Delange, Beat the Streets or Dogu and allowing themselves to learn just by wrestling. 

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Honestly after looking at Jimmy Kennedy, Brent Metcalf, and Jake Varner all come out and score, and then just have their opponents mount a comeback was very difficult to watch. However, after thinking about it all night, It did seem like some of the other wrestlers in this tournament were just on a mission to win. It seemed like our guys were just not matching their opponents intensity.

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FYI -- Personally I don't think wrestling for (or even winning) a bronze medal should get JB and TD byes into next years WTT finals.  That should be reserved for Gold medal winners.  Not a knock on either of them, I just think it is too much of an advantage for a someone who wrestled for Bronze (especially in a repechage format),.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it the U.S. Open champ that gets a bye into the WTT finals? (The Sr. Open is ~1 month before the WTT.) It has nothing to do with medals won the previous year.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it the U.S. Open champ that gets a bye into the WTT finals? (The Sr. Open is ~1 month before the WTT.) It has nothing to do with medals won the previous year.

 

IIRC, if you're a defending Wolrd/Olympic medalist then you get a bye to the WTT finals regardless of who wins the Open. I base this off of talk that the Burroughs v Taylor match at the Open would have no effect on Burroughs' bye.

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IIRC, if you're a defending Wolrd/Olympic medalist then you get a bye to the WTT finals regardless of who wins the Open. I base this off of talk that the Burroughs v Taylor match at the Open would have no effect on Burroughs' bye.

Interesting, thanks. It would be cool if defending medalists got automatic bids into the World Championships, and then if their respective countries could send an extra man at that weight. Of course, that would probably mean that Russia would win even more medals, but I wouldn't care.

Edited by wnywrestling

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IIRC, if you're a defending Wolrd/Olympic medalist then you get a bye to the WTT finals regardless of who wins the Open. I base this off of talk that the Burroughs v Taylor match at the Open would have no effect on Burroughs' bye.

 

Actually, the way the rule was written this year, even if you lost in the Bronze medal match you got the bye.  That does not come into play this year as JB and TD both won their Bronze matches.

 

It is also possible the rule gets changed for 2015.  I think TD and JB should have to earn the bye to the finals by winning the US Open, just like everyone else.

 

My $0.02.

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I think the let-down for this event is fueled on how well our younger age group teams did on the world stage earlier this summer.

I'm starting to think that was a fluke or the other countries aren't sending their best to these events. One thing is for sure though, the young kids from the other countries we were beating at the Cadets and Juniors will get much better at Freestyle while our guys burn themselves out on Folkstyle. Our guys will go through the college grind and prematurely wear their bodies down from the grueling workouts and numerous weight cuts. Is it any wonder so few college wrestlers continue after they complete college.

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I'm starting to think that was a fluke or the other countries aren't sending their best to these events. One thing is for sure though, the young kids from the other countries we were beating at the Cadets and Juniors will get much better at Freestyle while our guys burn themselves out on Folkstyle. Our guys will go through the college grind and prematurely wear their bodies down from the grueling workouts and numerous weight cuts. Is it any wonder so few college wrestlers continue after they complete college.

 

I personally prefer watching folkstyle and would hate to see it disappear. But I have to agree with your point. Despite the recent changes in rules, FS is still sufficiently different from folkstyle that it gives an advantage to all our international competition, who spend their entire wrestling lives doing FS and zero time doing folkstyle. 

 

I think both Ramos and Ruth made some moves that are of no consequence in folkstyle but are a mistake in FS, and a penalty is paid. Jettising those habits when doing FS probably takes some time.

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I think both Ramos and Ruth made some moves that are of no consequence in folkstyle but are a mistake in FS, and a penalty is paid. Jettising those habits when doing FS probably takes some time.

 

I totally agree.  And not just jettisoning habits but also conquering freestyle-specific scrambles/predicaments.

 

For me, Ruth's learning curve was encapsulated well in the situations where he got behind the Iranian, only to have the Iranian go to all fours (2 points in folkstyle, of course, but not in freestyle).  The Iranian plants himself there like a solid oak table and Ruth has no leg ride or gutwrench or crotch-lift to do anything about it.  They eventually are stale-mated and he doesn't get the takedown.

 

In the semi's, the Cuban gets the Iranian in the same situation, instantly puts a leg in, wrenches on a crotchlift, and breaks him down like a cheap plastic patio chair. 

 

He also doesn't seem to have a go-to freestyle turn yet.  He's going to lose some matches where he gets a couple takedowns with no exposures, while giving up only 1 takedown but also 2 exposures and a savvy pushout.  He wins 4-2 in folkstyle, but loses 7-4 in freestyle. 

 

It's taken some of our other successful, extremely athletic, freestylers some time to transition too, so I think he'll be fine in time.  For now, though, the style awareness gaps are still there.

Edited by maligned

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I personally think it is worse than just taking some time to work out tendencies. These things are rewarded in folk (or at least of no consequence), and create wrestlers at the top of our ladder who are hardwired and coded in their DNA. In other words, wrestlers who might excel in freestyle aren't always folkstyle champions and just aren't developing at the necessary clip for this level vs the world's best.

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I personally think it is worse than just taking some time to work out tendencies. These things are rewarded in folk (or at least of no consequence), and create wrestlers at the top of our ladder who are hardwired and coded in their DNA. In other words, wrestlers who might excel in freestyle aren't always folkstyle champions and just aren't developing at the necessary clip for this level vs the world's best.

Yes, I agree that OVERALL it is a deeper issue than simply filling in the gaps.  If all of our wrestlers were hardwired as freestylers from their youth, we would be at Russia's level in my opinion.  My previous post was more commenting on where specific guys like Ramos and Ruth are right now and where we might realistically see some improvement still.

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I totally agree.  And not just jettisoning habits but also conquering freestyle-specific scrambles/predicaments.

 

For me, Ruth's learning curve was encapsulated well in the situations where he got behind the Iranian, only to have the Iranian go to all fours (2 points in folkstyle, of course, but not in freestyle).  The Iranian plants himself there like a solid oak table and Ruth has no leg ride or gutwrench or crotch-lift to do anything about it.  They eventually are stale-mated and he doesn't get the takedown.

 

In the semi's, the Cuban gets the Iranian in the same situation, instantly puts a leg in, wrenches on a crotchlift, and breaks him down like a cheap plastic patio chair. 

 

He also doesn't seem to have a go-to freestyle turn yet.  He's going to lose some matches where he gets a couple takedowns with no exposures, while giving up only 1 takedown but also 2 turns and a savvy pushout.  He wins 4-2 in folkstyle, but loses 7-4 in freestyle. 

 

It's taken some of our other successful, extremely athletic, freestylers some time to transition too, so I think he'll be fine in time.  For now, though, the style awareness gaps are still there.

 

 

 

That was the most disappointing sequence I saw. I was shocked that Ruth did not throw a leg in there to try to break him down. 

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My take is that most of our guys are maybe 5th-8th best at their weight, and that collective skill level is just shy of where we need to be consistently competitive as a team.  As a result we're highly reliant on lucky draws and pairings to fare well as a team.  This year we didn't get them.

 

The issue is the format, where only losses to finalists pull you back into repecage.  If you're at least 3rd or 4th best at your weight, you can consistently expect to either make the finals (if the talent's stacked on the other side) or to be pulled back into repecage (since its unlikely you'll lose to someone who isn't one of the 2 best in your weight class). 

 

Obviously that's the case with Burroughs, but Dlagnev is more illustrative.  He always scores big points for us despite not making the finals, as he has been pulled back into repecage and wrestled for bronze in 5 of the last 6 years.  Its not dumb luck.  Its that, statistically speaking, its  unlikely his first loss will be to a non-finalist, since there's so few guys besides the finalists that can beat him.

 

But when most of our guys are 5th-8th best (or so), we are at high risk of losing to a non-finalist before semis, and getting bounce from the tournament.  And that's what happened.  6 of 8 guys -- Ramos, Kennedy, Metcalf, Marable, Ruth, Varner -- lost early (pre-semis) to guys that didn't make the finals but did make the bronze medal match (i.e., lost to a guy who was roughly 3rd-5th best).  These guys barely scored any points for us, despite being better than most guys in their bracket.

 

While that's a bad break since usually sheer probability will have one of these guys hit a finalist early, where they may still make the medal round), its also very forseeable.  For example, if you're 6th best at your weight, that means there's roughly a 60% chance that you'll take your loss to a non-finalist, bouncing you from the tournament before you have a chance to "wrestle to your seed."

 

Obviously I'm talking probabilities and generalities here; there are always exceptions.  But my point is that when most of your team members aren't among the 4 best at their weight, as seems to be the case in 6 of 8 weights, we immediately become reliant on a "lucky bounce" -- either having your first loss be to a finalist, where a medal is within grasp, or having all the talent concentrated in the other bracket.  We didn't get any this year, but its hard to be disappointed in a lack of lucky breaks. 

 

The broader point is that we don't need a team full of Burroughs-like guys to consistently fare well.  We need a bunch of Dlagnev-types, who are at least in the top 4 or so, where you can more confidently predict they'll be in the medal rounds. 

 

 And I think we're close.  When you look at the losses of the 6 guys who didn't medal, all were tight losses to guys in the medal rounds.  Its not that big a gap we have to close. 

 

 

 

 

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