If you needed any more proof that the Olympics are upon us, Rule 40 just went into effect last Wednesday. The rule, which basically says that participating athletes are not allowed to be included in any marketing efforts by non-approved sponsors during the entirety of the Games, is not new. What is, however, is the allotment of ways it now has to be enforced. It’s a social media culture therefore, a sponsor is not permitted to retweet or share/tag any athletes in their posts. What’s more, it is the athletes who can pay a dear price for these perceived transgressions.
Is this all a bunch of madness? Of course. Especially for the majority of US Olympic athletes, who get by on virtual crumbs compared to the state-sponsored benefits competitors from other countries enjoy. These Olympians usually do not have a terribly long window to capitalize on their achievements, at least not on this scale. The very fact that is taken away from them during a period in their lives where they are more visible than ever before is downright ridiculous. But the Olympics represent major, major business on a variety of levels and naivete helps no one in this case.
Rio Greco Roman rosters announced
At long last, the finalized rosters for the 2016 Olympics have been submitted and needless to say, not a ton of surprises here (except from Russia, naturally). Russia is sending Stepan Maryanyan at 59 kg in place of 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Mingiyan Semenov (world no. 4 and Ibragim Labazanov (world no. 17). Maryanyan, 2010 Junior World Champion at 55 kg, is no slouch by any stretch, it’s just that given how Russa’s selection process is supposed to be based more on overall bodies of work and blah, blah, blah than any isolated event, it is a bit confusing.
Of course, no more confusing than leaving 2013 World Champion Nikita Melnikov (world no. 1, 98 kg) off the roster. Melnikov, who for some reason is the only dude in the world Artur Aleksanyan (ARM, world no. 2) loses sleep over, will not be competing in his first Olympics. Instead, 2015 World bronze medalist Islam Magomedov (world no. 4) gets the nod. Once again, it isn’t because Magomedov is a bad choice (the very fact this even comes down to it being a “choice” just illustrates Russia’s depth though, doesn’t it?), it is more that Melnikov, with all reasonable metrics being considered, would certainly appear to be the more deserving party. By a comfortable margin. Speculate as you wish.
Pre-Olympic Greco Roman rankings
UWW released their pre-Olympic rankings last week and there was some international movement here and there. Nothing that would ruffle feathers. From a US perspective, the major story was Patrick Martinez (NYAC, 80 kg, world no. 17) making his first appearance in the top-20. Martinez has had a hectic go of it since the 2016 Olympic Trials. He made the University World Team in Akron in early June and then put in two bronze medal performances overseas (at the Poland Open and Spanish Grand Prix, respectively).
Jesse Thielke (NYAC, world no. 19) dropped two spots for some odd reason. I mean, of course, a couple of others at 59 kg got on the mats over the summer but whatever. No big deal, really. Andy Bisek (Minnesota Storm, 75 kg, world no. 5) didn’t move an inch and hasn’t in awhile.
What’s coming up here
- A special feature on the program at Northern Michigan. Most in the US Greco Roman community understand how important the NMU-OTS initiative has been since its inception in 1999, but we take a different look at why and also, how it can receive the exposure and credit it deserves to move further into the forefront.
- The first *pieces* of our Olympic coverage.
- An all-new Coach Lindland’s Report.
- An interesting conversation with a well-known Olympic medalist.