Episode 33 of the Five Point Move Podcast arrives just before the Senior Greco-Roman season hits a higher gear, as two US delegations are scheduled to compete this week in separate overseas tournaments days apart. That topic serves as the ice-breaker , though it doesn’t take too long for the conversation to revert back to how co-host Dennis Hall feels regarding the “Ranking Series” tournament in Italy, and why he would prefer those athletes in need of qualifying their weights for Tokyo simply focus mainly on their training.
The guest this time around is a first-timer — 2019 World Team Trials champ Jamel Johnson (67 kg, Marines). Johnson is in Italy for the aforementioned ranking event, but despite the time zone challenges in place, made himself available for a discussion concerning a variety of topics. Key among them are the landscape at 67 kilograms in the United States; Johnson’s intense throwdown with Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP) at the Nationals; and how the All-Marine Team uses events (domestic or abroad) as a training tool throughout the season.
A Few Highlights
Hall on why he agreed with World Team member Patrick Smith’s training plan that has kept him away from competition until this current overseas tour
“He was doing what he should have been doing, which is training and getting ready. Do the tournaments do anything? The only ones that really count are the Pan Am Olympic Qualifier, the Olympic Trials, and the Olympic Games. So I mean, all the other tournaments, you go overseas, you wrestle guys, you figure out their style, figure out where you’re weak, try things, make adjustments in those matches, and you see if it works. Are you getting better, or aren’t you? You’ve got to go back to the drawing board.”
Johnson on persevering at the Nationals last month
“That tournament, it was a tough one, man. It was a tough one. (Jason) Chamberlain is a great wrestler, I’m definitely not taking anything away from him. That tournament, dude, I just didn’t like the way I wrestled. I think I needed that for some reason to align my brain in the right manner. But I just didn’t like the way I wrestled that tournament, but at the end of the day, I got the job done, which was to qualify for the Olympic Trials. I keep telling myself that I have to make sure that I keep my head straight, because you can’t get caught up off of one tournament because I didn’t perform in a manner that I thought I should have performed.”
Johnson on his exceedingly physical battle with Michael Hooker
“I think it was because what weighed on that match. Whoever won was going to be the last qualifying person from the tournament to go to the Olympic Trials. And neither one of us wanted to take that loss. Our emotions came to a head. Neither one of us wanted to back down, plus it was obviously Marines and Army, so that plays a factor of pride and bragging rights, and stuff like that. And with it being the last qualifier, nobody wants to go to the Last Chance and play this scramble game before the Olympic Trials come.”