2009 World Championships

Here lies the special section I’ve created for the 2009 World championships in Herning, Denmark. On here I will have blogs, photos, and anything else that I feel like putting on here that, in my mind at least, directly relates to the experience in Denmark. First and foremost, before you read anything you should take a moment and check out http://www.allcustomstores.com/rcjohnson to pick up one of my great Dr. Greco shirts. In case you’re wondering, 110% of the proceeds from the sales go directly to fund wrestling related costs (travel, trip incidentals, getting my parents to worlds, etc…).

To see all the pics from the trip check out http://www.rcjohnson.net/nggallery/page-26/album-1/gallery-29/ or click on “Wrestling Galleries” on the right column.

I’ve broken up the pages a bit to help speed up the loading time. At the bottom of the posts just above the comment section you’ll find the “Pages: ” link that will take you to the older posts.

Happy reading…


Sept. 29, 2009

I thought it would be nice to write a summary of the event experience and speak about interesting moments on the trip home. This will most likely end up being the last post for this section.

The trip home was pretty much horrendous, kind of like salt in an open wound. Because we were flying out of the Billund airport we had to be on the bus and ready to go at 3am. The bus ride wasn’t too bad for me because I was finishing up season 5 of The Wire at the time. While at the airport I requested aisle seats, as I always do, especially for the longer flights, and was told that I received them for all legs of my journey. Maybe there was a language barrier, or in Danish aisle means middle, or maybe I mumbled while making the request, but I only got an aisle seat on the first leg (from Denmark to Germany). For the rest of my flights (all 11.5 hours of flying time) I was stuck in the middle (thanks a bunch Star Alliance members). The plane from Frankfurt to Washington-Dulles was a 747-400 and didn’t even have TVs in the headrests so there was essentially no entertainment during 8.5 hours of my cramped middle seat adventure. The icing on the cake for the return trip home was that they had problems at customs in Washington Dulles Airport (bags were piled up and waiting and no one was around to assist the situation) and some of our luggage didn’t end up making it onto our flight with us. The good news in all of this is that we had finally made it home!

When I got up this morning, the trip behind me, I was ready to get started on a new day. After a while I got a call from a delivery person saying that my bags would be at my doorstep within the hour. An hour past, I got my bags, and everything was going smoothly, until I started unpacking my bags to do laundry. Turns out my washer broke while I was gone and was gushing water all over the floor. So instead of doing laundry I had to call a repair man. Luckily I found someone who lived near me and was able to squeeze in a visit today.

As I’m writing this, the washer is fixed, all of my laundry is done and put away, and I’m glad the trip is over. All in all, it really was a good trip and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it. I felt a great lesson was learned from my experiences at this year’s world championships; with these rules anyone can beat anyone on any given day. With so many variables and factors that go into winning and losing, it’s almost impossible to predict what the outcome will be. The only thing anyone can do is prepare themselves for both the best and the worst possible scenario so that they may be ready for anything when the time comes.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed following along these past two weeks…

Sept. 26, 2009

Today was the big day for me. The day I’ve been waiting for ever since winning my spot on the world team back at the end of May. It’s been a long summer of training day in and day out. All in an attempt to be the best in the world. Before I get directly to the happenings of today I want to backup to yesterday.

As is typical for me, the morning of weigh ins I had less than a kilo (kilo = 2.2 lbs) left to go. My morning workout was short and sweet; just three sits in the sauna for about 5 minutes each. I apparently didn’t even need to do all three as I was almost a full kilo under weight when I was done. It was nice, however, to be able to eat and drink a little bit before weigh ins.

We took a shuttle over to weigh ins and arrived about an hour early (which is good because you never know what can happen on the way to make you late). After going through med checks and hanging around a while we finally finished weigh ins. The timing worked out perfectly because lunch was being served right as weigh ins were finishing up. Even though food was being served, it was a tough decision on where to eat because the food had been so hit or miss since we arrived (serious extremes here), but I ended up eating at the venue anyway.

After I finished eating I finally met up with my parents. They had just arrived and were heading into the main arena. We ended up deciding to head back to my hotel and walk around the area a little bit. It worked out well because I needed to walk off all the food I just ate and my parents wanted to look around a bit at the different stores in the area. It’s a good thing for me that the area is small and I didn’t have to spend any real energy, but it was bad for my parents because there’s really not much to see here. In the end, it was nice to be able to spend a little bit of time with my parents during their first trip overseas. I got my parents back to the venue in time to see the finals for the day. I didn’t stay to watch because I wanted to make sure I got as much rest as possible for my big day.

In the morning I got up and had a medium sized breakfast (I never have a big meal before I wrestle, it makes me feel sluggish) then came back my room and prepared my things for the tournament. This is the first time we’ve had a 1pm start time for a tournament and so it was slightly awkward for me during the time after breakfast and before I left for the tournament. I didn’t know weather to take a nap, get work done, or just sit there. I ended up packing and getting caught up on the news (thanks to Google News and CNNs podcasts). All in all, I think I really like the later start time; it allows for breakfast to get settled and for some extra mental prep time (a nice chat with TC to help calm the nerves a bit).

We arrived at the venue around 11:40 and started warming up. Because of where I was situated in the bracket I was the second match of the day and therefor I got right to work on getting ready. Apparently today was my turn to show B Rupp how good my right cross is (he later informed me) during the warm up.

As the rules currently stand, the wrestlers who make it into the wrestle-backs (repechage) are the ones who have lost to the finalists. For example, if person A makes it to the finals, whoever he beat the first round will wrestle who he beat in the second round. The winner of that match will wrestle who person A beat in the 3rd round, and so on. The last of these matches, that occurs when the person that person A beat in the semifinals is wrestling, is the bronze medal match. Therefor there are two bronze medal matches (one for the top half, one for the bottom half).

Today wasn’t my day and I ended up losing a tough match in the first round. The guy that I lost to ended up winning two more matches before losing in the 1/4 finals to the reining Olympic champion. Because of the way my match played out there are many things that I could point out that shouldn’t have happened, but this is what happens in wrestling and I don’t like to complain about what I can’t change. I’ll just say that it is hard to win when you have to wrestle the referee as well as your opponent (especially when your opponent has obviously attended many acting classes). I went out there and wrestled, and for that I am at peace with myself. I didn’t hold back and I did what I could. I wrestled to win and came up a little short this time. I’m not at all happy with my results today but I’m also not going to beat myself up (too badly at least) about it because I know I left it out there on the mat. Now it’s time to go back to the drawing board, change a few things around, and get ready to take another shot at it next year.

Of everything that happened today, there was at least one small ray of sunshine on this cloudy day. That was watching the rest of my bracket play out as the day drew on. Seeing that I’ve beaten and had very close matches with guys on the podium let me know just how close I am to the gold, even if it was out of my reach this time around. Frustrating indeed.

On another note, I’m looking forward to seeing the remainder of my teammates compete tomorrow. So far we are 0 for 4, but I’m thinking that we can go 3 for 7 with the guys we have wrestling tomorrow. They are all great competitors and friends and I look forward to seeing them in action.

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