What’s going on at USAWrestling with Greco? America won zero medals at this year’s World Championships with eight of their ten entries only winning one match each. And, their grand total of 14 team points represents a new performance low for our Colorado based leadership corp., especially when you consider the men’s freestyle team won team gold two days earlier with 148 points, and repeated as team champions from the previous year.
Our amazing women followed suit and capped off a great week of wrestling with the Silver Medal, and have consistently been one of the top wrestling programs in the world, thanks in large part to the vision of Sally Roberts, the founder and CEO of Wrestle Like A Girl (WLAG) and her entire corporate team.
But Greco is at least consistent. The same level of un-performance happens on a regular basis.
Now, before I get into trouble with our Greco athletes, the un-performance I just mentioned isn’t their fault. More on that later.
But, with more wrestling rooms in America than any other country. With more coaches than you’ll find in any other country. With more wrestlers competing than in any other country. With more money being spent on the sport of wrestling than in any other country. With access to better nutrition than in any other country. With better sports medicine facilities and more sport psychologists than all the other countries of the world, what the hell is going on?
Greco-Roman wrestling here at home has only had one Gold Medalist in the last 20 years. And that’s out of 169 wrestlers trying. There hasn’t been a single Greco-ite reaching the finals in any of the weight classes in the last 5 years . . . with 50 athletes attempting.
Okay, enough of that, so let’s try and figure out why?
It’s the leadership at the top; it can’t be anything else. Leadership in this case being the Board of Directors at USAWrestling.
It certainly looks like Colorado Springs has zero respect for Greco-Roman wrestling and even less willingness to do what’s necessary to help them become a global force. Could it be that they’re focused on allowing the sport to drop to such lows that it becomes easy for them to walk away from it.
Maybe I’m wrong, but evidence suggests that might be the case.
On a different note, regarding foresight, were you aware that USAW was offered the opportunity to add grappling to their stable of disciplines back in the 90’s and said, no thanks. This, and Greco’s struggles, just demonstrate a lack of what could be.
Today, grappling has programs in almost every town in America, and financially, it’s larger than wrestling. It’s all about vision. Seeing what’s possible and making it happen. The UWW knew what was about to happen and added Grappling to their stable of events years ago.
I understand, Colorado Springs wants to be known as the leadership team who oversees championship programs, but that requires foresight, a sincere willingness to succeed, plus work ethic. Said another way; the foresight to be able to see a winning idea, the willingness to pick up a shovel, and a work ethic to start digging.
Greco is a winning idea, but only if you’re willing to get your hands dirty until you’ve moved enough dirt for a solid foundation to be poured.
If you have ever been to a World Championship, one of the things you’d notice after the freestylers are done competing, the seats that were just occupied by our leadership, are as empty as Greco’s jar of medals.
To me, that tells the tale. Why would leadership dash to dine? Are they embarrassed about what they know is on the horizon? Or, are they more interested in the hospitality area and garnishing the at-a-boys that the freestylers have earned?
Wouldn’t that be like having two children wrestling and taking the one who won out for ice cream when you know that your other child’s weight class is about to begin and you know he or she doesn’t have a chance?
That’s not good parenting skills, and it’s not good leadership skills either.
So, why are our freestyle programs winning? It’s not because of anything USAWrestling is doing other than holding qualifiers, providing the singlets, and cheering when those athletes win.
All the training, and all the coaching is localized to several collegiate hotbeds. Winning happens as a result of America’s Regional Training Centers (RTC’s) getting the job done through funding, not from USAWrestling, but from generous donors who have a vested interest in a) seeing America succeed, and b) having their favorite institutions place at or near the top of the NCAA leader board.
The Olympic Training Center is almost void of senior level athletes anymore, not necessarily by design. For the most part, the freestylers avoid having anything to do with Colorado Springs other than cashing their checks, and smiling at the organization’s leadership when its expedient.
So, now with few if any freestylers to train, and excess money’s lying about as a result of the universities and Wrestle Like a Girl basically taking over two of their three international programs; why can’t they seem to get Greco right?
Could it be that Greco-Roman is so foreign to Colorado Springs that they think it’s just two countries located on either side of the Ionian Sea. But to ignore the sport, given they’re the ones who the United States Olympic Committee has charged with the responsibility to develop, maybe they should officially give it up and send it back to the AAU?
But since both the men and women are doing great in freestyle and will continue being some of the top dogs as long as the RTC’s remain solvent, and WLAG continues their incredible journey, what is USAWrestling doing with all the administrative time and budgets they’ve been saving?
Clearly, it’s not being spent on Greco.