Episode 5 of “The Five Point Move Podcast” brings to you the one and only Robby Smith (NYAC), the popular bearded heavyweight who has enjoyed a dominant stay atop the pecking order at 130 kilograms in the US. Now a four-time US World Team member following his Olympic run in 2016, Smith dished on a variety of topics pertaining to his career while providing entertaining tidbits to serve as context. All of the major bulletpoints are hit including his move up to 120 kilos (now 130) from 96 after 2012, his coming-out party at the 2015 World Championships, training for Rio, and where he sees his career headed through the remainder of the current quad.
It has been an especially interesting time in Smith’s career as of late. Following the Rio Games he required surgery on his wrist, a trying period that kept him off the mat. The forced respite also affected his psyche. Once he finally resumed training after the new year, an ankle sprain popped up and derailed his progress. But Smith persevered. In March, he returned to competition in Denmark at the Thor Masters Invitational where he endured a close first round loss but rebounded to win his next four, earning gold in the tournament’s Nordic System format. Next was the 2017 World Team Trials in April. Seeded second, Smith breezed to the best-of-three finals and defeated former training partner Toby Erickson (Army/WCAP) to secure his spot on the US World Team, his fourth time doing so.
A week after the World Team Trials, Smith scored a bronze at the 2017 Pan Am Championships in Brazil. This past weekend at the Tbilisi Grand Prix, Smith dropped a tight 5-3 decision to Iosif Chugoshvili (BLR). So he’s been busy. He’ll be getting even busier. Currently, Smith is in Budapest, Hungary for a two-week training camp and upon his arrival back on US soil will begin the final phase of training for the 2017 World Championships. He’s taken fifth twice already — in 2013 and 2015. At age 30, he feels he is better than he’s ever been and gets that point across repeatedly in this episode. Getting on the podium at the Worlds is the goal, though he has other career objectives still in mind. Nothing is off the table when talking to Robby Smith as you’ll find out for yourself.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS
Smith on his overall condition and recovery from training at this stage in his career
“I’m not doing what I was doing when I was 19, going after it every day grinding and not recovering. You have to do way more for your body to stay going and not getting injured, that’s the recovery part of it. I still grind hard, I grind harder than everybody in the room, but it’s what I do after my practices — it’s the stretching, the cold plunges, the contrast, heat and cold, the icing, the recovery with my trainers — just keeping all of my stuff feeling fresh. If I had known that when I was younger, my body would definitely feel better now but when you’re 19 years old, 20 years old, you feel like a superhero, like nothing can harm you.”
Smith on if moving up to heavyweight saved his career following years of draining weight-cutting
“Oh, 100%. My body was taking a huge toll. I think I would have been just as dominant at 98 kilos, but that cut was huge. What it did was save me from being a ‘weight-cutter’ and actually becoming a wrestler. Every day my focus walking into the room, the coaches would say, ‘How’s your weight, Robby? How’s your weight, Robby?’ It wasn’t ‘How are you doing?’ or anything like that, it was ‘How’s your weight, Robby? Where’s your weight at, Robby?’ It’s like, Come on, man. You dread getting on a scale because you know you’re going to get bitched at and yelled at and all this stuff. When I made the move up I became a wrestler, and that’s why my wrestling is so exciting. Because I focused on just one thing, and that is beating people up.”
Smith on the importance of the 2015 World Championships
“There was no doubt after I got done qualifying that weight class that I was going to be an Olympian. That was my spot. Once I qualified it, I looked at (Mark) Halvorson and I was like, ‘We’re going to the Olympics, you know that, right?’ No one was going to stop me, no one was going to come close to me in the US. I did the hardest thing and that’s qualify. The Olympic Trials isn’t hard. The Olympic Trials is a crazy tournament, anything can happen and that’s when most of the stuff does happen. But if you wrestle how you should wrestle and compete to your highest level and compete as a professional, there should be no problems. To qualify your weight class, that’s a feat in itself.”