Robby Smith battles Adam Coon in the Olympic Team Trials (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)Smith will put those communication skills to work on Thursday as he serves as one of the emcees for the 2016 Beat the Streets "United In the Square" international wrestling event, which will be held in historic Times Square.
"It is a great opportunity. It's a wonderful thing I get to do, to promote wrestling and represent Greco-Roman wrestling. You have to take the opportunity when it presents itself to help promote the sport. It's mostly a freestyle dual with a Greco-Roman match, announced by a Greco-Roman wrestler," said Smith.
He will work with Olympic public address announcer Kenny Berger as part of the announcing crew, helping introduce the athletes, identify celebrities on hand, and entertain the thousands who will see top-caliber Olympic wrestling in one of the world's most iconic locations.
"I have never done this before. Why not do the first one with a bang, in the middle of Times Square? That's how I do things. Go big or go home. I am going to give it my best shot, be myself with my big personality," said Smith.
There will be a full card of world-class competitors on display, as Team USA takes on Iran in six men's freestyle matches, faces Canada in a pair of women's freestyle bouts and also battles an Olympic champion from Korea in a Greco-Roman match.
One of the reasons that Smith was invited to do this announcing gig was his public interview in front of the crowd after winning the Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City. He fired up the crowd with his enthusiasm and genuine joy.
"My whole life I have been confident in how I speak to people in public. It is always fun for me. I am big on showing emotion, and that is what happened at the Olympic Trials. After the Trials when I won, Kyra Barry of Beat the Streets said they loved what I did there. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, that is what I do. It was inspiring as an athlete to go out there with people cheering you on. I felt I had to thank the crowd there. It hit a lot of people the right way. My parents raised me to be a humble athlete and to be a thankful person," said Smith.
Joining Smith at the Beat the Streets event will be five of his teammates on the U.S. Olympic Team who will wrestle in the event. 2012 Olympic champion, three-time World champion and 2016 Olympian Jordan Burroughs at 74 kg and 2016 Olympian and two-time NCAA champion J'Den Cox at 86 kg will face opponents from Iran. 2016 Olympian and three-time World champion Adeline Gray and 2016 Olympian and 2015 World champion Helen Maroulis will battle Canadian stars in women's freestyle. Two-time World bronze medalist and 2016 Olympian Andy Bisek will battle an Olympic and World champion from Korea at 75 kg in Greco-Roman.
Three other members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team will be in attendance. 2016 Olympian and 2015 World Champion freestyle wrestler Kyle Snyder will be on hand to receive the Beat the Streets Man of the Year Award during the Gala event. The two other members of the U.S. Olympic Team in women's freestyle, 2012 World champion Elena Pirozhkova and Cadet World champion Haley Augello will also be on hand to support their teammates on the mat.
Top Beat the Streets youth wrestlers will take the mat showcasing their skills in exhibition matches beginning at 3:45 p.m. to start the evening. A new feature to be held is the PSAL Girls Freestyle Dual Meet Championships finals, featuring the two top New York City girl's freestyle wrestling high school teams from the spring girl's freestyle season. Then it's Team USA vs. Iran and other guests at 6 p.m., followed by the Beat the Streets Gala Celebration.
The Beat the Streets competition requires a ticket for reserved seating in Times Square, but is an outdoor event. Pedestrians and non-ticket holders are encouraged to watch. Admission tickets may be bought in advance at www.btsny.org or 212.245.6570. A ticket is required for the Gala Celebration at the PlayStation Theater. More details are available at http://www.btsny.org/gala. The Gala Celebration will follow the wrestling competition.
This unique and electrifying annual event helps Beat the Streets (BTS) raise significant funds to further its mission. Whether it's providing a safe, constructive outlet for our urban youth, fighting childhood obesity, empowering women, or uniting entire nations, wrestling teaches persistence, dedication, and the value of working hard to achieve one's goals, creates opportunities for personal and universal growth. BTS currently serve over 3,000 student-athletes every year.
The entire competition will be broadcast live on Flowrestling.
"United In The Square," Beat the Streets Matchups
In New York City, May 19, 2016
Main Event match-ups in order of presentation
Greco-Roman 75 kg/165 lbs. - Andy Bisek (USA) vs. Kim Hyeon-Woo (Korea)
Women's 53 kg/116.5 lbs. - Helen Maroulis (USA) vs. Samantha Stewart (Canada)
Women's 75 kg/165 lbs.- Adeline Gray (USA) vs. Justina Di Stasio (Canada)
Junior men's freestyle 55 kg/121 lbs. - Daton Fix (USA) vs. Kheyrollah Ghahramani (Iran)
Junior men's freestyle 60 kg/132 lbs. - Mitchell McKee (USA) vs. Peiman Biabani (Iran)
Junior men's freestyle 74 kg/163 lbs. - Mark Hall (USA) vs. Ahmad Bazrighaleh (Iran)
Junior men's freestyle 84 kg/185 lbs. - Zahid Valencia (USA) vs. Mojtaba Goleij (Iran)
Men's freestyle 86 kg/189 lbs. - J'Den Cox (USA) vs. Meisam Mostafa Joukar (Iran)
Men's freestyle 74 kg/163 lbs. - Jordan Burroughs (USA) vs. Pehman Yarahmadi (Iran)
Note: Event will be broadcast by Flowrestling
3:45 p.m. - Beat the Streets Youth Exhibition Matches between 42nd and 43rd Streets
4:45 p.m. - New York City Girl's Freestyle Dual Meet Championships Finals between 42nd and 43rd Streets
6:30 p.m. - World Class Wrestling: Team USA vs. Team Iran, Team Canada and Team Korea between 42nd and 43rd Streets
Followed by Gala Celebration
About Beat the Streets
The mission of Beat the Streets is to develop the full human and athletic potential of the urban youth and to strengthen the culture of New York City wrestling. BTSW works directly with the New York City Department of Education in a public-private partnership to help New York City's student-athletes achieve their personal and athletic goals. Through the operation of wrestling programs in middle and high schools in the five boroughs, BTSW and the DOE provide a safe, positive atmosphere in which disadvantaged and at-risk youth can learn the essential life skills of physical fitness, teamwork, and self-empowerment. The goal of fostering strong, dedicated, and optimistic kids is delivered through coaching, after-school programs, and summer camps. More information can be found at www.btsny.org.
About USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling is the National Governing Body for the Sport of Wrestling in the United States and, as such, is its representative to the United States Olympic Committee and United World Wrestling, the international wrestling federation. Simply, USA Wrestling is the central organization that coordinates amateur wrestling programs in the nation and works to create interest and participation in these programs. It has over 220,000 members across the nation, boys and girls, men and women of all ages, representing all levels of the sport. Its president is James Ravannack, and its Executive Director is Rich Bender. More information can be found at TheMat.com.