Five Point Move is the only independent digital media platform in the United States, if not the world, devoted strictly to Greco-Roman wrestling. There are other websites in America which showcase one style of wrestling, with most of these outlets focusing their coverage on collegiate folkstyle (or are owned by colleges and universities outright). But at the current moment, there is no other media outlet in the US where one international style of wrestling takes center-stage, and there is certainly not another featuring only Greco-Roman. In that sense, Five Point Move (or 5PM) is a truly unique endeavor.
The next natural question is often Why only Greco-Roman? The answer is simple: because it is necessary.
Greco-Roman wrestling in the United States has long been perceived as an afterthought. There are several reasons for this.
The root problem
The first and most obvious is due to the country’s scholastic folkstyle system. The overwhelming majority of youths interested in learning wrestling are first introduced to folkstyle because it is the only style offered in kids’ clubs and municipal recreation programs. And since many parents, especially fathers, only practiced and competed in folkstyle, it is the discipline they feel most comfortable encouraging their children to pursue. Another factor is college. Whether it is the NCAA, NAIA, or NCWA, all collegiate men’s wrestling programs in the United States offer only folkstyle. Therefore, if a boy wants to continue wrestling at an NCAA-accredited institution following high school, there is but one option available to consider.
Women have it slightly better. Girls who wrestle in college compete in freestyle. Greco is not yet available to women at the Olympic level, though the hope is that will eventually change.
Because of this systemic failure on the part of the US national governing body as well as state federations and collegiate sanctioning organizations across the country, folkstyle success is celebrated as much, and in some cases even more, than success attained at the international level. Moreover, folkstyle tournaments are now held 12 months per year, further eclipsing participation in Greco-Roman. Freestyle does not suffer the same consequences brought on by its leg-grabbing first cousin thanks to their similarities, and the US has proven that on the World and Olympic stage throughout history.
The primary issue is that while wrestling might be wrestling, Greco-Roman demands positional variances, select skills, and brutal physical punishment that are of stark contrast to the styles of wrestling most American athletes are familiar with, thus making it more difficult to grasp for those who become interested at an older age. A shame, for in its purest form, Greco-Roman is the most exciting and artistic combat sports discipline on Planet Earth (as well as the most popular).
As you might suspect, wrestling coverage in the United States veers heavily towards folkstyle and freestyle. It is easy to see why. Folkstyle dominates the schools and the nation’s freestyle program has (in recent years) consistently proven to be among the best in the world. US wrestling media outlets, particularly online, have a vested interest in providing content reflecting the relative needs and wants of their audiences. Like every other website driven by banner clicks and traffic funneling, they must serve their users with material promising a high ROI (return on investment) for advertisers.
Please make no mistake about it: regardless of what media members say either within their domains or on social media, they do not intend to promote or “grow” wrestling. They intend to be good at their jobs and grow their platforms, however that has to happen. Since wrestling is the topic, that is what content producers want to push and they will do what they can to figure out creative ways to engage their audiences to that effect.
To be sure, wrestling media outlets in the US tend to offer Greco-Roman coverage on a “need to” basis, not out of any legitimate desire to help Greco gain traction with what has been an uneducated and oft disinterested general wrestling public. When a US Greco-Roman athlete performs well internationally, or when there is a major domestic event that cannot be ignored, coverage spikes. The media is now hopping on board because they have to show their audiences that they can be everything to everyone. And occasionally, out of nowhere will come an article or bio piece about an athlete.
We like this. We want this. We’ll explain why in a moment.
But suffice it to say, an inherent lack of love can be detected by mainstream wrestling outlets whenever they are forced to offer Greco-Roman coverage. Passion is missing, as is the curiosity, respect, and understanding pertaining to exactly why and what it is that makes an American athlete chase down elite international success in a sport that is pushed aside by the very same country they are honored to represent.
USA Greco-Roman athletes are special
United States Greco-Roman athletes are not like other wrestlers. In fact, a substantial argument could be made that a USA Greco athlete is the only one of its kind the world over.
In many countries, Greco-Roman is the most popular — and important — style of wrestling available. National programs put a lot of pride and effort into ensuring their wrestlers are suitably skilled and experienced in the ways of Greco competition from an early age. The success of their athletes is heralded. World medalists and Olympic champs in other places enjoy national stardom. A lot of them are taken care of for the rest of their lives.
A USA Greco-Roman athlete, especially at the Senior/Olympic level, is a skilled, motivated professional who dares stare into the crackling fire awaiting at elite international events. What he is not, is adequately recognized. The US has had Greco champs on the Olympic and World stage(s), that’s true. And a few of them were able to, for however briefly, turn themselves into stars acknowledged by casual fans. Unfortunately, these examples have been few and far between. While inconsistent performance results play a role in the lower profile Greco athletes are burdened by, they are also not assisted in the manner they should be by both the national governing body and the wrestling media as a whole.
That is now changing. The old ways of doing things are coming to an end.
Our Mission for Greco-Roman Wrestling
Five Point Move has one stated principal objective: to increase exposure of USA Greco-Roman athletes, and by extension, the sport itself. The first step in accomplishing this mission can be seen in our content. Readers will notice that there is a heavy presence of interviews and various other Q&A-formatted pieces. The reason why we rely on interviews and direct dialogue is because the best way readers can learn about the athletes is by going straight to the source. We want to tell the athletes’ stories — and we do through profiles and articles. But we also want you to absorb the material and glean perspectives straight from the wrestlers in hopes that a deeper, more intimate connection is made. It is our belief that this mechanism offers the clearest avenue for unaware readers to turn into fans.
As mentioned above, the ultimate goal for 5PM is to boost exposure of the athletes. While those associated with 5PM passionately work to bring you relevant, enjoyable Greco content and will always continue to do so, we take it as a big victory anytime other domains venture outside of the norm and cover American athletes. To put it plainly, our gig is to write about and talk about Greco on a daily basis in effort to educate and drive awareness. If a result of our coverage is that Greco-Roman athletes receive more attention from whom we consider to comprise the mainstream wrestling media, then that, too, is part of the goal.
In other words, anything we can do to spread the word and highlight United States Greco-Roman, we will. Over the course of the first two-and-a-half years since 5PM’s official launch, numerous reporters and media outlets have reached out to us for help, be it to provide athlete bios, credentials, or backstories. Whenever we are contacted by another domain because they’d like to learn more about the athletes, we’re more than happy to be of assistance.
What You Get With 5PM
You can expect to find event details, training resources, and updated results regarding the US Greco-Roman wrestling program along with information on other nations from around the world. We are continuously interested in providing readers with a more in-depth look at what it is wrestlers, coaches, and other athletes go through in training and competition. The stories that exist behind the results, the struggles Greco athletes face at all levels face, and the satisfaction of pushing through obstacles to realize the thrill of competition. A Greco-Roman wrestling match is made up of many unique elements. There is just some information that cannot be absorbed by simply watching match highlights or reading tournament results. Sometimes, it’s those stories in the shadows waiting to be told which paint a clearer picture. We want to be able to bring different perspectives that not only inform, but inspire, as well.
You are why we’re here
Upon its conception, 5PM set out to fill a void. The need for an all-Greco platform was identified beforehand. For far too long, those inside of the USA Greco community wanted and wished for more coverage. To be fair, plenty of “regular” wrestling fans felt the same (little known fact: the “regular” audience actually represents the majority of the 5PM audience!). During the developmental stages of Five Point Move, before we were ever live and available, it was knowing we were going to be able to serve those both inside and outside of the sport that provided constant inspiration.
So, this is not just for the athletes, the coaches, or even the sport of Greco-Roman that we are in love with. It is for you, too.
You are why we’re here. And we will never forget that.
Want to contribute to Five Point Move? Drop us a line – [email protected]
(Featured image — Richard Immel)