The Olympic Trials next week will bring a ton of excitement to Carver-Hawkeye Arena as many Olympic dreams will come true. Since Olympic team spots are being birthed (granted we qualify weights) and the Olympic medals are the pinnacle acheivements in our sport, USA's best current wrestlers will be in one arena for a magical two days of incredibly high level wrestling.
One interesting factor is this is the first Olympic cycle with the new rules. While the "tennis" rules aka best 2 of 3 periods were thought of to create action, they ended up doing the opposite. It essentially wiped away passivity calls and many tried to simply win periods 1-0, or worse, hope for a ball draw to steal periods from a better opponent. If I was offered a million dollars to defeat Jake Herbert under these rules, keeping in mind he is ten times the wrestler I am, I would seriously stall that first 2 minutes for a ball draw every time. Do you remember Sam Hazewinkel's thrilling 1-0, 1-0 semi-final win over Mark McKnight? Of course, you don't. The rules were a disaster and thankfully they have changed to cumulative over 6 minutes. There are still tweaks to be made, but 2016 will feature a much improved product in freestyle and greco. The improved scoring will also help make these Trials a can't miss event.
The 2016 Olympic Trials will feature the highest level of star power ever featured. While it's popular to vilify social media and internet technology, The improved cable television broadcast time, live streams, video archives, and access to stars of wrestling make the 2016 Olympic Trials competitors more recognizable than ever before. Freestyle 86 kg will feature Jake Herbert, David Taylor, Kyle Dake, Ed Ruth, and more! That's not even the most anticipated bracket of the weekend!
The one dark cloud hanging is criteria instead of overtime. I worry that it will rear its head in the worst spot possible. Can you imagine Metcalf winning a match 5-3 to only get taken down in the last seconds to lose 5-5 because it was the "last points scored"? I hate that there is no overtime, and it really bothers me because it's losing arbitrarily (it's been said in other articles). I hope a really big moment to decide who goes to the Olympics isn't decided in a 4-4 match.
All in all though, everyone should be really looking forward to Iowa City and what is going to be a tremendous display by the best athletes the United States has to offer across all three styles. I hope to see you there!