Foley's Friday Mailbag: September 2, 2016

Kyle Dake finished second at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

The Junior World Championships are this week in Macon, but the real drama might be off the mats as United World Wrestling holds its bi-annual congress and elections for the sport's leadership bureau.

Most of the issues from the Olympic Games focused on the potential influence of this body and their election is often a chance for nations around the world to vote in new blood. Six seats are up in this election with at least two new members to join after previous members announced their retirement. New voices should be good for the sport as they might add new perspective.

I will be sure to let the wrestling community know the results of the elections as soon as the votes are cast.

To your questions …

Q: If you are Kyle Dake, do you move back down now that Jordan Burroughs would have to go through the gauntlet at the Trials? Is it likely that David Taylor would stay at 86kilos?
Frank C.

Foley: If I'm Dake, I don't know that I'd want to head back down and take on a super motivated Jordan Burroughs in an open field any more than I'd want to challenge an ever-improving J'den Cox at 86 kilograms.

The big thing fro Kyle should be to get healthy and travel to as many tournaments and camps as possible. There is nothing more he can do here in the states to give himself an edge. Overseas will get him up close and help him figure out his weight class and learn the winning strategies and techniques of wrestlers from Iran, Russia and Turkey.

Q: Do you know what wrestlers from other countries get as a reward for bringing home a gold, silver or bronze medal? Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey?
-- KK

Foley: The most celebrated returns seem to come from these countries, and though I don't know much about each reward I do know that Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia has so far received six million rubles ($100k), a brand new BMW sports car … and a golden horse. The Turks are rumored to pay $500k for each gold medal and a lifetime salary. The Iranians are certain to pay a good amount, but I will need to ask very personal questions. I'd heard in the past that they receive money, but most of their income comes from sponsorships and finding themselves in preferential business arrangements. An interesting side note, the most celebrated Iranian wrestler Gholamreza Takhti is in part beloved for refusing a gift of land from the government. There was some argument about who had currently owned the land and Takhti didn't want to take from his countrymen. The decision endeared him to the nation.

Q: It was difficult to watch a devastated Migran Arutyunyan on the podium accepting his silver medal after the ref decided he was not worthy of gold. Some have suggested the match was called in favor of the Serb in an effort to please the head of UWW. Could there be any truth to this or are we talking way-out-there conspiracy theory?
-- KK

Foley: I don't know what was in the mind of the referee from Taipei! Obviously Arutyunyan should not have been put down twice. However, I never thought it was a conspiracy as much as poor officiating. Though the match was not as many would have hoped, it's also not as though Stefanek is a nobody. He had a great tournament prior to making the finals.

Q: I caught the 48 and 58-kilogram women's finals last night. I thought the 48-kilogram final went smoothly with Azerbaijan girl choking at the end. Japanese girl really swarmed her at the end, pretty impressive and great way to close. What I could not understand was how the Russian 58-kilogram wrestler got put on the shot clock twice, and I don't believe Icho took a single shot the entire match?!?! That last score was a counter off the Russian's sloppy 'diving' shot.

Seems like many wrestlers' fates are being put in the ref's hands and not their own. Help me make sense of this.
-- Willy D

Foley: First of all, we have to come to a consensus in the wrestling community that women's wrestling was the most entertaining of the Olympic Games. High drama, massive upsets and last-second victories defined their two days of competition. They also attracted the most media and had the highest attendance of any style.

The women also competed well and with a high level of technical acumen. There were WAY more throws and a wider variety of takedowns than the 2012 Games, showing that the sport is rapidly growing and changing.

As for Icho's match I think that the Russian should have been penalized much earlier in the match for repeated blows to Icho's face and head. That tactic benefited the Tunisians in the first round and was imitated by the Azerbaijani wrestler in the semifinals. However, Valeria Koblova's attempts were more direct and with little offense in mind. To me her late period shot clock violations also seemed warranted.

Q: Can you provide any data on the viewership of the Olympic wrestling events and how it compared with other Olympic sports?
-- KK

Foley: We will be working on these numbers over the next several weeks. I can say that if you look on NBC Sports the top posts were all from stories surrounding wrestling: Helen's win, Burroughs' interview, and the throw by Kawai.

Also, the Mongolian protest skewed a lot more attention in wrestling's direction, even if it was for unwanted reasons.

By Ben H.

How is wrestling at the NCAA level recognized as an Olympic sport but they don't even wrestle the same style of Olympic wrestling? Shouldn't it be that all sports at the NCAA level, that are Olympic sports, look the same at the NCAA level as the Olympic sport? I don't know any of the other sports -- swimming, track and field, water polo, gymnastics -- any of them that play by a different set of scoring/rules during the NCAA level then switch to a different style for the Olympics. Student-athletes are allowed to take an Olympic redshirt but again they aren't even competing with the same rules and style as they do during the NCAA season. My thoughts are we should go freestyle and/or freestyle/Greco during both NCAA season and high school season then if we want to keep folkstyle wrestling as something special to our country everyone can do it for "fun" during the summer months or offseason.

Or …

Why don't we flip the folkstyle and freestyle/Greco seasons in America? Have high school and colleges compete in freestyle/Greco during the actual season then in the offseason train folkstyle as we do with freestyle/Greco now. It's pretty ironic that we have Olympic redshirts in college wrestling but those same wrestlers never wrestle the Olympic style EVER in a school uniform. Every four years wrestling is showcased in the Olympics and we have people like Jordan Burroughs and Adeline Gray all over talk shows but then the casual fan watches it on TV it looks nothing like the couple of duals they saw on the ESPN/Big Ten Network/online. Then people like you and me are explaining wrestling once again on the couch to someone that we tried to get to understand the scoring and what's going on just a couple months ago watching the ESPN/Big Ten Network/online. Switch the freestyle/Greco seasons with the folkstyle seasons.


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thorn164 (1) about 5 years ago
In reply to Ben H,
One could argue that the Olympic wrestlers from 2008 have never wrestled freestyle or greco, because the rules were so different back then compared to the rules of today. Current freestyle rules are excellent and certainly much better than the past rules, but who really trusts that they will stay in place long term? Coaching youth wrestling is difficult enough with consistent rules(folkstyle), imagine trying to be a youth coach and have to re-learn the rules each year. Until we can trust that freestyle rules will stay consistent, youth , high school and NCAA should never switch from folkstyle.
Cradle2thegrave (1) about 5 years ago
Very good point
trescuit11 (1) about 5 years ago
no freestyle. jeez. give it a rest
Widowmaker (1) about 5 years ago
U of MN should hire a combo Head Coach in Damion Hahn & Kyle Dake. Pay them as much as the Girls BB Coach and let the recruiting begin. Power will return to the Gophers.
jdnelsn (1) about 5 years ago
Why do they have the "Repechage" crap? I think of all the great wrestle backs for 3rd place over the years (HS/College.) Loses 1st, wins 7 straight for 3rd. How come a true Bracket system isn't used. Will it ever change?
ROCK7 (1) about 5 years ago
Freestyle and especially Greco bore me to death. If it wasn't for the Olympics I wouldn't watch at all.
spencerszewczyk (2) about 5 years ago
I love the idiots who continuously try and argue against folkstyle wrestling. Newsflash, only two wrestlers medaled at this year's Olympics: J'den Cox and Kyle Snyder. Guess what they both did right before the Olympics? That's right, wrestled FOLKSTYLE!
united92 (2) about 5 years ago
Two things I'd like to see are a true bracketing system, followed by seeding. Hopefully moving to a two day format allows for that. This follow the leader stuff is silly.