It's here! The 2017 World Championships are held in Paris, France this week. Here are some not so original thoughts before the fur starts flying.
Is Kyle Snyder an underdog against Sadulaev?
- Sadulaev has basically been unbeatable since bursting on the scene tech'ing his way through the 2014 World Championships at the (alleged) age of 18. He now bumps up to 97 kg making Kyle Snyder's chance at winning his 3rd straight World/Olympic title all that more intriguing. Both guys don't wrestle like big men and it will be interesting to see if one of them really pushes the pace early. Before Jordan Burroughs, you have to go back to John Smith to find an American with 3 straight titles.
Can the Americans win a Men's Freestyle Team Title?
- Gable's Eagles (we still need a cool moniker for our international wrestling squads) haven't won a team title since 1996. USA is sending their best possible 2017 team to Paris and the rumblings do not indicate the same from Russia and Iran in the first year of this quad. It feels like we are sending a young team, but remember 5 of the guys have World medals to their name. It's an exciting prospect to claim the World's best for the first time in over 20 years.
- UWW Officials left a black cloud over the 2016 Olympic mats including banned refs and naked Mongolians. For lack of a better term, it was a shit show and seeing that smiling German as he robbed people is scarred in my brain. Will the matches appear to be rigged this year, or can UWW have a tournament where the legitimacy takes a step in the right direction?
The College Guys
- USA has had a nice run of guys coming off the college season and having success. International guys haven't seen them and coming off 40 matches seem to be some sort of winning recipe. Thomas Gilman and Zain Retherford combined for one loss this season and took out some high-profile veterans to win the spots. A lot to be excited about, but you also have to keep in mind USA hasn't medal'd at 65 kg since 2006 and 57 kg since 2008.
Star Power, the King and Queen Return
- Helen Maroulis and Jordan Burroughs come to Paris after two very different experiences at the 2016 Olympics. All signs point upward based on results since Rio, and USA Wrestling is certainly standing to benefit from their stars shining bright.
- Since joining the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club and moving to Ann Arbor, the Edinboro stand out has gained a lot of international experience including a bronze at the 2017 European Championship (a very tough tournament). Habat wrestles for Slovenia and looks to grab a medal in Paris.
Lindland's Greco Squad
- Based on Junior results, it seems that Matt Lindland growing talent roster of Greco competitors will have a breakout performance at a World Championships at some point. Whether it will be Paris or not remains to be seen.
- From tournament software to NBC's internet arm of Wrestling, it's been quite a run for the website. Now they get a senior level World Championship and I will be all in it all week. It will be interesting to see how it performs and how well it does with traffic in high-demand situations. I'm fine to pay for events, but I better get something in return. I'm curious how it'll be judged throughout. Also, NBC Olympic Channel will be running some tape delay. I will be watching real-time, but that will also be interesting to see how that is produced. Obviously, I don't compete in the streaming business so I'm hoping for success and awesomeness every time I sit down to watch Wrestling.