We have hit the finish line for 2017’s collection of the Monday Roundup, the most consistent, lock-it-down piece of content this platform offers.
The purpose of the Roundup has changed since 5PM first officially launched in 2016. Originally, this space was to provide snappy gloss-overs of the previous week’s news and results. While that is still part of its intent, the direction has been known to deviate on occasion, depending on what’s gone on. It is here where readers will find more of a slant or narrative pertaining to Greco-Roman or the US program in general. Because there were more than a few Earth-shaking developments over the past 12 months — some good, some bad — the Roundup has at times served as either an editorial sounding board or a mechanism to settle down the community following rough times. Whether those objectives have been met or not is, of course, up for discussion. But hopefully, an air of both positivity and entertainment is always detectable.
Sharing news and information with Greco-Roman supporters, from the US or abroad as our readership continues to expand, is a hefty yet rewarding responsibility. This army of fans, coaches, and athletes never ceases to find common ground no matter what the issues of the day are. The fact that 5PM can play a role in fostering these relationships, on any level, is why we are here in the first place, and it is something that has never been taken for granted, nor ever will be.
Thank you all for your support and your loyalty as we endeavor to continue on with our mission to increase exposure for Greco-Roman athletes and the sport itself. Offering first-hand, intimate accounts and perspectives from wrestlers is our #1 goal because they are the most important pieces to the puzzle. In concert with the athletes are the coaches who tirelessly do whatever is necessary to elevate not only those under their charge, but also the awareness meter around the country. It is a massive team effort, boosting the consciousness. Passionate cohesion is a priceless commodity for what the US is attempting to do. The arrow is now pointing further north than it has in quite a long time, and if you’re reading this, you are a part of the reason why.
But strap in, because there is still a lot of work ahead.
Mayabb’s State of the Union
Coming your way early this week is a comprehensive interview with US Greco-Roman Operations Manager Gary Mayabb, who just returned home from presiding over the Seniors in Russia and Finland. Mayabb was also in Poland for the U23 World Championships, so in short order he got to witness one of the year’s lowest points for the US program followed by one of its highest. Relatively speaking.
What makes this Q&A particularly important centers around Mayabb’s willingness to step back and examine performance from an objective, open-minded standpoint. He deals in facts while also painting detailed pictures of the various nuances which present the most dire areas in need of improvement. Mayabb is an educator — so if you have questions bouncing around in your head regarding upcoming plans for the US program and what the strategy will be to reach new milestones in 2018, reading what he has to say should prove to be an excellent opportunity to learn.
The Clubs Cup Happened
Aside from the US deciding not to participate in the Greco-Roman portion of the 2017 World Wrestling Clubs Cup, the real bummer about the whole thing was its lack of accessibility. Contested in Isfahan, Iran last Thursday and Friday, the time difference, as always, was going to be a major hurdle no matter what. But it’s the lack of a reasonable live stream that really proved to be the preeminent obstacle, although YouTube channel Best of Sports did make some videos available later on.
Iranian club Bimeh Razi came loaded with Russian superstars Roman Vlasov (77 kg, world no. 3) and Artem Surkov (67 kg, world no. 3) to compliment its stout lineup that also included three-time Junior World champ Zviadi Pataridze (GEO, 130 kg, world no. 10) and Iranian hero Saied Abdvali (82 kg, world no. 4 at 75 kg). Interestingly enough, it was Abdvali who roundabout clinched the team title for Bimeh Razi thanks to his 6-2 victory over 2017 World Champion Maksim Manukyan (ARM, world no. 1), who competed for Iran’s Sina Sanat Izeh.
Vlasov won the Russian Nationals at 80 kilos and stayed there for the Paris Worlds, where he was one-and-done thanks to eventual bronze Elvin Mursaliyev (AZE, world no. 4). Back down (in a way) to 77 kilograms, the two-time World and Olympic champ went 3-0 for Bimeh Razi, highlighted by a 10-1 route of U23 World bronze Payam Boyeri (IRI, Sina Sanat Izeh). It should be noted that one of the victories Vlasov was credited with came via forfeit. Details.
In other action, Seyedmostafa Salehizadeh (IRI, world no. 14) nailed down one of the bigger wins of his young career by downing Paris runner-up and fiery Russian enigma Musa Evloev (world no. 2) on Thursday. Former World Champion and multi-time medalist Alexei Mishin (87 kg), who turns 39 in February, got back out on the mat for the first time since June and it didn’t go so well. Mishin was behind Iranian newcomer Mehdi Fallah 3-0 in the Bimeh Razi/Moscow dual on Thursday heading into the second period when he defaulted out.
If you are a rabid Greco-Roman fan, the Clubs Cup has everything you should probably want — star power, intense battles, and odd team configurations. Outside of Bundesliga and the smattering of other pro leagues in Europe, this event is the best opportunity to check out global rivals competing together on the same squad. There is a coolness factor to stuff like this and serious followers of the sport would likely enjoy being in on the fun as it unfolds. Hopefully, there is more of an effort to showcase the Clubs Cup to the public going forward, because if not, it will continue to fall in an echo chamber to Western fans.
We will have an official release describing the new procedures that will be in place for the Five Point Move 2018 Athlete of the Year vote. In 2016, the process that saw 2016 Olympian Jesse Thielke (63 kg, NYAC) deservedly take the inaugural award involved a committee comprised of several anonymous former US Greco legends chiming in. That is not exactly how it will be done this time around. In effort to offer the transparency necessary, all committee voters will be known to the public.
But there is more to look forward to, as well. On the docket before January 1st will be:
- Our US athlete Watchlist(s): check out the first of the two-part series here.
- A summary of our biggest stories from 2017.
- An end-of-year episode of the podcast featuring Max Nowry (55 kg, Army/WCAP), Patrick Smith (72 kg, Minnesota Storm), and others.
- A look at the biggest events and potential turning points popping up during the new year.
There are also a few plans in development that we hope to offer, so stay tuned!
What’s coming up here
- Insights from the Senior Winter Training Camp at NMU this week.
- Athlete interviews.
- The final Coach Lindland’s Report of 2017.
- A new Williams Word with WBC head coach Jonathan Drendel.
- Throws are the home run of our sport.