News Flash! NCAA goes to freestyle and Greco-Roman styles and the USA dominates the Olympic Games
By Steve Fraser
January 21, 2013
In an unprecedented move, the NCAA, which is the best wrestling organization and developmental system in the world, incorporates the two Olympic styles of wrestling (freestyle and Greco-Roman) into the NCAA system and it proves to be the catalyst that pushed the USA to the top of the Olympic world.
This is what Gymnastics did years ago. And it did the same for their sport.
Ron Brant, former National Team coordinator for USA Gymnastics, said; "By having the NCAA coaches and USA Gymnastics staff work closely together and the NCAA program join forces with USA Gymnastics, both sides followed the international rules. It made a significant change in the USA Men’s Team depth for international success."
"Once they united on the rules - over half of the senior men’s team was still in the NCAA. This was a tremendous boost as it had younger top athletes exposed to international competition sooner and was an easier transition from NCAA to Olympic competition. It then became possible to become an NCAA Champion, World Champion and Olympic Champion sooner as the learning curve was shortened for each athlete," Brant concluded.
Well, it worked for wrestling too!
In just four short years after this monumental NCAA wrestling change, the USA Olympic team, in all three styles of wrestling (men's freestyle, women's freestyle and Greco-Roman), won a record number of medals in the Games. Never before in the illustrious history of the Olympics Games in wrestling, has one country won 18 Olympic medals in the same Olympics. Yes, the USA team won medals in all weight classes contested!
Who would have thought that including freestyle and Greco into the NCAA program would have made this incredible difference in our Olympic performance?
FILA, who is the international governing body for international wrestling, was shocked and had little to say about this remarkable feat. One of the head FILA officials was quoted as saying, "We will need to take a hard look at our current rules to see why they seem to accommodate the Americans so well."
It all started on the first day of wrestling when Greco-Roman's 55kilo wrestler won five straight victories, beating the Russian in the finals with a pin in the second period.
Steve Fraser, the national coach for the US Greco squad, said, "He started us on a roll by ‘sticking’ that Russian and all 17 remaining weight classes for the U.S. just sort of followed suit. Credit goes to the coaches and athletes in all three styles of wrestling, as well as the NCAA. It was remarkable!"
The US Olympic Committee's sport performance team was elated by this spectacular medal result by America’s wrestlers, especially happy that - of the 18 medals - the US squad won 10 gold.
The US Olympic Committee took great pride in the fact that they continued to have faith in USA Wrestling’s program during some previous lean years, where they continued the much needed financial support to maintain and rebuild American competitiveness.
The remarkable performance attracted huge media attention for the athletes and the national governing body. Numerous athletes were invited to many of the TV talk shows, such as David Letterman, Jay Leno, Oprah, and many more. Front page coverage in media outlets, such as The New York Times, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and many others, were plentiful.
USA Wrestling’s leadership, along with the NCAA officials, were also in the news answering questions such as "How'd we do it?"
Sponsorship opportunities expanded tenfold as the youth wrestling programs exploded across the nation.
Finally! Our U.S. wrestling team becomes the undisputed world’s best!
Poof!!! "Hey Steve! Wake up! It's time to go to practice."
What?! Huh?! Oh darn! It's Momir Petkovic, Greco-Roman's assistant national coach. And we are in sub-zero temperature in Siberia, Russia with some of our U.S. team, training and competing in the Podubny Tournament.
Really? This was just a dream? Shucks!
Hmmm... Of course, first we have to dream it before we can make it a reality. Who knows what we can do - if we dream big enough and think outside of the box!
As always, expect to win!