It was only a week ago when the United States pushed four athletes across the finish line to qualify their respective weight categories in advance of the 2020 Olympic Games, which naturally meant that another podcast episode would follow in short order.
And for sure, the goings-on in Ottawa last week serve as the main topic for Episode 35, as co-host Dennis Hall provides his insights regarding Team USA’s outstanding effort. Ildar Hafizov (60 kg, Army/WCAP) and his impressive round-of-16 victory at the expense of ’16 Olympian/’19 Pan Am Games gold Andres Montano Arroyo (ECU) is one of the bigger conversation pieces, particularly due to how much qualifying meant to him throughout his time as a US athlete. The same goes for Joe Rau (87 kg, TMWC/Chicago RTC, world #7), who like Hafizov, had fallen short during the previous quad only to get the job done in inspiring and emphatic fashion in Ottawa.
It is, however, an unusual episode that was recorded in the midst of what are unusual times. To that point, Hall ruminates about the scheduling changes facing the American wrestlers ahead of the Olympic Trials and how the entire situation may affect training concerns.
A Few Highlights
Hall on the pressures of qualifying an Olympic weight
“It sucks. I hated it. The only year that I didn’t mind it was in ’95, because I qualified it (the weight) at the Worlds. Besides that, you’re just wondering if you’re going to be able to compete at the Olympic Games, so that’s in the back of your head the entire time.”
Hall on Team USA’s success in Ottawa
“I think the guys did the job. The bottom line is they got four out of six. That’s a good showing. I think the biggest thing for the guys, is they got to the finals and I don’t know if there was any relief factor, or if they could have done a little bit better in the finals. Overall, the main goal was to get the mission done and qualify their weight class.”