Five Point Move is proud to host US Greco Roman National Team Head Coach Matt Lindland every week for “Coach Lindland’s Report.” For fans and wrestlers looking for insights regarding the US Greco National Team, we ask Coach Lindland some questions to get his take on training and upcoming competitions. If you have any questions you’d like us to ask going forward let us know via Facebook, Twitter, or through our Contact page.
Part I of the Coach’s Report covered the last day of training, the hometown Olympic Opening Ceremony, and a synopsis on the overall preparation for the Rio Games. Part II is about the details, as Coach Matt Lindland goes over when the team is taking off, what they will do once they arrive in Rio, and weight management. But more than anything, the coach provides an insightful summary on the process leading up to the Olympics as well as the attitude the athletes are taking with them to Rio.
5PM: What does your routine look like from tomorrow morning until your actual departure to Rio?
Coach Matt Lindland: It’s nice to have an afternoon departure. I get to pack in the morning rather than have to get it done this evening.
5PM: Are you guys meeting at the airport or is everyone taking a shuttle from the Olympic Training Center?
ML: I actually have a parking spot at the airport since I fly out of Colorado Springs enough that I pay yearly fees for. So I don’t need to take the shuttle, but everybody else is staying at the Olympic Training Center, other than Andy, he lives right out by the airport so he’ll probably be dropped off by his wife. But everybody else will be on the shuttle and I’ll pick up my neighbor, Mohammed, and take him with us. But that’s about it. The shuttle likes to get the athletes there early, which is a good thing.
5PM: What is on the agenda once you guys land?
ML: Yeah, we’ll get to the airport and check in with the IOC people and probably connect with some USOC people there and get on a shuttle. The athletes, Momir, and myself will head off to the Village. The other coaches and training partners will head to the High Performance Training Center, which is where the freestyle men and women are already training.
5PM: Once everyone is settled on Thursday, are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday designated workout/cut days?
Coach Matt Lindland: Friday morning we have a 10:00am workout at the training center there. We’ll shower up, grab a quick bite, and then head to a press conference at noon. We’ll do the press conference and then the guys have the rest of the afternoon to take care of their needs whether it’s saying hi to their families, exploring the Olympic Village, or cutting weight, which is probably more of the case. That’s really it, they’ll kind of be on their own. I’ll communicate directly with some guys to see if they need any help. That’s it. We have one workout scheduled in Rio. We’ve done our entire training camp in the United States or Azerbaijan, which was earlier. But this pre-Olympic stuff has all been here in Colorado Springs. The guys have the opportunity to sleep in their own beds, eat the food they’re accustomed to, and spend time with their families.
5PM: That’s a rather important component I would imagine, aside from sticking to the objective of the training plan. I would think that having the comforts of home while steeped in such an important training camp up until the last minute is a pretty advantageous position to be in.
ML: I think we’ve been blessed to have this opportunity because it is only a three-hour time zone change for us. It’s an overnight flight and we’ll get to sleep on the plane. I mean, everything kind of lined up for us to have that opportunity and certainly, it’s a luxury. So anytime you can treat yourself to a luxury, if someone were to offer you a coach seat or a first class seat, most people would choose the first class seat, don’t you agree?
5PM: Of course.
ML: Yeah, and so I think that’s similar. We’re hearing all of the nightmares coming back from Rio, you know? Whether it’s the water, the mosquitoes, the toilets backing up in the Village, the body parts washing up on the beach, security issues, protesters… I mean, there are just a lot of things in Rio that we don’t need to be around right at this time when the guys are getting ready to compete in one of the most important tournaments of their lives.
5PM: When was the last time you and the team were around each other, whether it was for a meeting, a practice, or what?
ML: Well officially, our last time on the mat was Friday morning and then we did the walk on Friday night that we talked about. Then Saturday morning we had a team walk or hike, I don’t know exactly. We got a call right before, Ben (Provisor, 85 kg) wanted to know if it was a hike or a walk. And it was like, Does that matter? (Laughs) Is there a definition we can both agree on and then I can tell you? It’s like, Let’s go, the bus is leaving. It was funny because I asked Coach Halvorson to call Ben and tell him we were leaving. So Halvorson goes, “Hey Matt, Ben wants to know if it’s a hike or a walk.”
So we had a nice hike or walk, I don’t know which one it was, to tell the truth. Not far from town, actually. There’s a beautiful place called the Red Rocks right outside of town, maybe ten or fifteen minutes outside of the OTC. And then we went out and had a team breakfast at Bon Ton over in Old Colorado City, which is a great little place in town if you want to do breakfast.
So that was our last official time together. I just had sightings of the guys. They had four optional workouts on Monday. There was a nine o’clock and a four o’clock when the coaches were here, some of our Junior and Cadet World Team members were still in town training, so we had bodies for the guys if they came in and needed workouts. Everybody got at least one workout in out of those four. Robby (Smith) and Andy (Bisek) were on the mat twice. Today, Robby was on the mat in the morning. None of the Seniors were on the mat in the afternoon but I saw Jesse on the bike. I saw Andy finishing up showering and heading home so he could spend time with his family. He was a kilo and a half over, Jesse was two kilos over, so the guys are right there. Their weight is down and they look good. Both of them are going to re-hydrate and eat a little bit more.
So yeah, good stuff. It was really just about them getting their massages in, you know, getting their weight down, getting a lot of sleep and rest. Now it’s just taking a breather before we head over.
5PM: Not to blanket the whole thing, but since this is it, the evening before you leave for the Olympics, what are your final thoughts and assessments regarding the team and how things have gone?
ML: My final thoughts are that the athletes are ready, they’re prepared, and excited to go compete. They are excited to get over there and take care of business. You know, I think everybody has the attitude that they’re going to do a job. Especially a guy like Andy, whose wife and kids are staying home. He’s going to work. That’s the feeling I get from my guys. They’re just excited to get over there and get the opportunity to compete in front of the entire world. It’s not just in front of their nation, but actually, on the biggest sporting stage in the world. Everybody is kind of anxious, but still pretty calm.
5PM: You used the word “excited” and that kind of gives me nostalgia because way back in the first report, you weren’t a fan of the word “anxious” because it can be associated with a negative context. So this is just like you said then, in a way. These guys are excited to get on a plane and they’re excited to get to work.
ML: Yeah, but I also kind of get the sense that they’re going in with a purpose. I really get a sense that these athletes have intentions as to why they’re going there and what they want to accomplish. And that makes me excited, to see their attitudes and to see the way their mindsets are right now. Because during the training for this, Robby the last ten years, or even me the last two years I’ve been here, even the last two weeks, we’ve had a lot of up’s and down’s. Guys get banged up, there’s a little injury here or there. The guys have had some adversity they’ve had to overcome.
I think the point is, I have a great feeling the guys are going over with a sense of purpose.
5PM: “Sense of purpose” — that sounds almost deeper than saying “determined.” It has a more convicted sort of tone to it. Is that an attitude, an approach that you have tried to encourage throughout this process leading up to Rio?
Coach Matt Lindland: I definitely think it’s something that not only me, but Momir and every one of our coaches from Halvorson to Herb House, all of us have tried to promote that, that this is bigger than you, that you’re part of a team. You’re representing the United States of America and the US Greco program, and I think because of all of these things, the guys are proud to do that. It’s easy to sell that stuff because the guys are happy to do it, they are encouraged. It’s just part of the way they operate, I think.