Voting is now open for our end-of-year awards, which for 2020 is limited to Athlete of the Year and Outstanding Individual Performance. As reported in last week’s Roundup, Impact Performer is unfortunately unavailable due to the fact that there simply was not a large-enough pool of American athletes who competed in international/overseas events, nor were there enough events, period, from which to glean amenable candidates.
Athlete of the Year and Outstanding Individual Performance are different, however. There most certainly were several wrestlers whom despite the lack of competition managed to achieve meaningful milestones and deserve to be recognized for their efforts — hence why AOTY is being offered. In addition, Outstanding Individual Performance is our “snapshot” award, as it isolates one athlete’s standing at one event and is supported by contextual value.
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European Championships Pushed to April
United World Wrestling announced last week that the Matteo Pellicone “Ranking Series” tournament in Rome, Italy had been moved from January 14-17 to March 4-7. For those who caught the latest Coach Lindland’s Report, this scheduling change, should it hold, may allow for US athletes (primarily World/National Team members) to travel abroad for the tournament.
But there was another change put in order, perhaps an even more important one: UWW also postponed the European Championships from February to April 19-25 (Warsaw, Poland), as well as the World Olympic Games Qualifier May 6-9 in Sofia, Bulgaria. The European Olympic Games Qualifier is still locked in place for March 18-21 in Budapest.
Thus far, it is unknown exactly how these calendar amendments will affect European programs and individual athletes. What we do know is that Sweden had planned on using the European Championships as a tune-up for the athletes they intend to send to Budapest in March. Sweden, via Federation Sports Manager Zakarias Tallroth, also noted that they may enter athletes into next months Zagreb Grand Prix (Croatia) for similar reasons.
As of today (December 28), several possibilities exist that would see USA Senior Greco-Roman athletes compete overseas in the coming months. This information is an update of what was presented one week ago in this space and includes scenarios laid out by United States National Team head coach Matt Lindland. At press time, plans displayed for January are still in motion.
15-17 — Paris International/Henri Deglane (Nice, FRA) — USA delegation: members of the All-Marine Team and Patrick Smith (77 kg, Minnesota Storm, 5PM #1), and Joe Rau (87 kg, TMWC/IRTC, world #7, 5PM #1). USA Wrestling is cautiously optimistic about this tournament and is considering a wide delegation of wrestlers because Nice will feature all three styles.
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16-17 — Grand Prix Zagreb Open (Zagreb, CRO) — Reportedly, Rau would prefer to enter this tournament given that his current training plan calls for him to enter Sweden from France on January 2 before heading over to Croatia. A camp in Zagreb is available from January 18 to 29 in which several US athletes are expected to participate.
25-28 — Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers & Coaches Memorial (Kiev, UKR) — No specific US athletes are targeted for Ukraine but it might present a unique opportunity, particularly if the proposed “Clubs Duals Series” set for Tacoma, WA on February 20-21 comes to fruition. The idea is that if travel and logistics are workable, eligible wrestlers may be able to go straight from Washington to Ukraine. If that were to occur, athletes who have been competitively dormant could indulge in a large sample size of matches within a relatively short turnaround.
4-7 — Matteo Pellicone Memorial (Rome, ITA) — Rome is the first “Ranking Series” event of the year, which elevates both its standing and the desire of the US program to make the trip. Athletes who would be participating in this tournament will likely be a combination of ’19 World/National Team members.