Foley's Friday Mailbag: Aug. 10, 2012
T.R. Foley, InterMat Senior Writer
firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @trfoley
InterMat senior writer T.R. Foley answers reader questions about NCAA wrestling, international wrestling, recruiting, or anything loosely related to wrestling. You have until Thursday night every week to send questions to Foley's Twitter or email account.
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We are working the abbreviated mailbag this week in light of the Olympics. If you're spending your time with wrestling it's being spent cursing at NBC for a crappy live stream. How can it be that the feed ALWAYS breaks during the climax of the action? The scoundrels at NBC also make you endure 30 seconds of Meb Keflezighi running past his local Citibank because he's able to cash checks from his phone (It worked. I cashed my last check via phone and it was ... awesome.)
The NBC feed has also been favoring the top-down camera angel which tells us nothing about what is going on in the actual match. Were I a still photographer I might climb the rafters for one or two shots, but live action feed gives us nothing but country abbreviations and the nape of the neck. NBC needs to stop this before we get to freestyle, or Twitter will get head-snapped with anger.
Quick few answers and then we can all get back to our computers to watch what will hopefully be a productive few days of wrestling for Team USA.
Q: What the hell happened to our Greco team?
Foley: The U.S Greco-Roman team had its worst outing since 1976. The won five matches across six weight classes and failed to make the semifinals or medal match at any weight. Our biggest stars fell flat, our could-be place-winners didn't surprise. There are several factors that might have contributed to the downturn, but none seems more obvious than the fact the Americans weren't ready to compete. The job of motivation and physical peaking is that of the team's head coach, Steve Fraser.
The Olympics seem to be a wild. It's entirely possible that media attention, other Olympians, and the pomp of the event distracted the wrestlers. That doesn't give Fraser a pass. If distraction was the main factor, it's Fraser's job to ensure that his staff to keep his athletes on task.
I won't keep going through the possibilities with Fraser and the dozens of possible factors. The main question everyone seems to be asking is whether or not we should change scholastic style over to freestyle and Greco (never going to happen), or if the USOEC at Northern Michigan is actually helping. It is, but it might be lacking the leadership necessary to make it the top residency program in the world
Q: Is Mijan Lopez at Karelin's level despite his dive?
Foley: Not yet, but if he wins the 2016 Games in Rio he will be. Don't forget about Kaori Icho the 63 kilos men's freestyler from Japan. Three Olympic golds, seven world championships and a 153 match win streak. She's (ONE) the most-accomplished freestlyer of all-time.
**From Reader Tom S. **
"Medved has 7 world championships and 3 Olympic golds to go along with a world silver and bronze. Her teammate Saori Yoshia won gold on Thusday. It was her third Olympic gold to go along with nine world championships. Yoshida has lost only twice in something close to 200 international matches."
Q: What's the line for Andrew Alton to win the NCAA title?
-- Brian M.
Foley: Are we making this line at 149 pounds only? Or can he float around?
Alton is in the best room in the country with a host on incredible wrestling partners. Standing in his way will be (maybe) Kendric Maple, Eric Grajales and Cam Tessari, among many others.
Starting conservatively I'll put him at +325 on the money line. It's high unless you consider injury, upset and possible weight class maneuvering still to come.
Q: I'm really not buying into the explanation on bronze medal matches. On most days, only two weight classes compete (three max). You're telling me that the Olympics couldn't have all the bronze medal matches be wrestled at the same time each day? What would that add ... an additional 20 minutes? As a guy who just wrote an article championing that "every kid doesn't deserve a ribbon," I would think you would be significantly more in favor of a true third.
-- Greg D.
Foley: Fair enough. Maybe it's the Olympics that gets me, but I just don't care if there are two bronze medals. Just. Don't. Care. If I have to continue with a justification it has everything to do with not wanting to see a seeding meeting take place. There would be no more corrupt place on the planet than the boardroom where the Tajikistan and Ukrainian representatives take their payouts to ensure that the Russian gets preferential seeding. Nobody would work with the U.S. to help us earn better seeds.
So, why not just wrestle the two bronze medals against each other? Honestly, that's a good question, but due to the Olympics I'm not getting any great responses. There MIGHT be a rule about a number of matches per day, or some other circumstance that I'm not aware of that prevents that match.
Nobody is being hurt when the Olympic committee hands out an extra bronze. There are fewer weight classes than ever before, so why not give out a few number of medals? America had 28 chances to medal in Greco and came home with NADA.
A reader points out the last time America had a wrestler in both disciplines ...
1972 was the first Olympics that I watched, so I knew an answer this one, even without Wikipedia. Chris Taylor took third in freestyle at super heavyweight, losing barely to the (stalling) favored Russian, but got famously planted in Greco by the West German and didn't place. Ah, the memories, back when pinning was chest-to-chest.
-- Jim F. (Boston)
Told you it was going to be a short mailbag! Go enjoy your wrestling and please send in your questions from the Games!
Good luck today to Haze and Burroughs!