Here it is, “Olympic Week.” The countdown isn’t technically over, but for all intents and purposes, we’re there. The US Greco Roman Olympic Team leaves for Rio on Wednesday afternoon, so they will get settled, acclimate to the time difference, cut those last kilos, and boom – next weekend will be here before you know it. Since there weren’t any competitions (or new doping scandals) this week, this will be a relatively short (but no less important) roundup.
Part of the plan is to peak, not walk around for hours
Plenty has been made of the Opening Ceremonies and rightfully so. The event is sheer pageantry and tens of millions of people around the world look forward to the spectacle. Of course, anyone who follows the US Greco Roman Olympic Team knows that they were not going to be participating in the thing. The team has a very defined plan that they are sticking to, and leaving for Brazil early to participate in the ceremonies interfered with that. Sure, would it have cool to spot the four athletes on TV out of nowhere? Yeah. But it’ll be nicer to see them medal and if getting there early was going to screw with that, then peace out on it.
Then again, the Greco guys had their own ceremony to participate in. Each quadrennial in “Olympic-Town, USA” (Colorado Springs), they hold their own event to mark the beginning of the Games and to wish the athletes luck. It’s a bunch of fanfare, with plenty of local and regional influencers, personnel, and USOC-types. Well since the rest of Team USA were already in Brazil, who do you think came to the rescue? That’s right, the USA Greco team. They were the only athletes (pretty much) still in the US, so they, for once, got to be stars of the show. The event even had a whole torch-passing thing where the athletes handed it off to (new USAW president) Bruce Baumgartner. It was nice to see this and it feels good that these four guys, along with the coaches, were recognized appropriately.
Our Olympic coverage
There is a LOT to look forward to this week and we’ve been busy organizing all of this for quite a while.
- Already up is the Matt Ghaffari interview. This was all supposed to take place months ago, but scheduling and everything else got in the way. It was a great conversation though, Ghaffari is as outgoing and friendly as you probably imagine. And what’s more, there isn’t a whole lot he’s afraid to talk about.
- Part II of the special “Coach Lindland’s Report” will be dropping. We talked to Coach Lindland late Friday night and will be again very soon. We kind of wanted to bookend all of this right before the team leaves, so please look out for that.
- Weight-by-weight scouting reports and breakdowns of the competition in Rio.
- Another featured part of our coverage this week to look forward to is “Remembering Atlanta – An Oral History of the 1996 US Greco Roman Olympic Team.” This one took a lot of planning, a lot of conversations, and just as much writing. We talked to the three silver medalists — Ghaffari, Dennis Hall, and Brandon Paulson. The head coach of that ’96 team, Rob Hermann, is part of it, as well. It came out super-interesting and should be a fun read for those who were around 20 years ago and also, the new schoolers who are interested in Greco’s legacy in the US.
- We will have live coverage and reports following each round on Sunday and Monday next week!