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Learn Repechage: It Sucks

From line pairing to pool play to repechage, I'm not sure what international wrestling has had against the double elimination bracket.

The latest system is an odd one that stems from the decision to award gold medals each day, per the IOC requests. I have a lot to say against obliging to this request based on awarding medals each day (and time restraints), but we will keep it just repechage. 

Repechage is basically a follow the leader system. Your only chances are single elimination, or if the person you lost to makes the finals.

Here's my three main gripes: 

1) It's not the most complicated thing, but it does go against my "girlfriend test" for 99% of all sports rules. If your girlfriend doesn't understand a rule in a reasonable first pass, the rule probably shouldn't exist. Repechage complicates things unnecessarily. Just make it double-elimination like every other reasonable wrestling tournament on the planet. 

2) It's arbitrary with no cross-bracketing. A blind draw is really the only way to go in international wrestling. There really isn't a season to base seeds off of so I can't imagine ever going away from blind draw more than separating the winners of the previous year. At least when you lose in the NCAA's with a bad draw, you can make noise on the back side of the bracket. If you lose to the bronze medalist who loses to the gold medalist (what just happened to Robby Smith), it's a tough pill to swallow being eliminated when possibly wrestling the 2nd best person in the bracket. 

So I drew this up. 

This is actually how it gets drawn. Slight hyperbole with my PIC Kevin getting a draw of 3 fish instead of Burroughs, Dake, Taylor, etc. However, it's important to know that the only match in which brackets cross is the gold medal match. "Fish 1" gets to win bronze without ever having to face anyone from the other side via awesome blind draw. This drawing is absurdity but should show how bronze medals are awarded are roulette-like.

3) What about experience? So many sports have pool play and other forms to get experience to countries that may not be medalists, but can help grow their sport in their countries. At the 2015 World Championships in 86 kg, a guy from Macedonia and a guy from American Samoa went out there and lost their first matches 10-0. They flew all the way there and made weight to go get tossed around for a hot minute. If there was a consolation bracket, these two would have wrestled meaning one of these guys comes back to their land with a win. It may not be a lot, but it should be something we do.

4) The "Metcalf". Brent Metcalf will not go down in history as the most fluid and talented wrestler, but he was one of the meanest sob's to ever toe the line against. Every second of every match he would go after guys relentlessly no matter if he was down or up by 14. It's not surprising that by in the four World Championships Metcalf wrestled, he never wrestled a match in repechage. If you give your guy one of the toughest matches he's ever had, it's tough that now you have to root for him. I'd have a better time rooting for Logan Steiber against Jordan Oliver if I knew he just got to pin a guy from Botswana and Oliver just got done with a 8-7 match with Metcalf. 

In closing, international wrestling needs to get out of their own way a lot and stop over-complicating things. Repechage is one of them, and it is bad for the growth of our sport in many ways.