Sept. 24, 2009

Today is the last day of being up and about before I get ready to wrestle. I want to make sure my body feels fresh and ready to go when I step out on the mat on Saturday. I had a good workout with B Rupp at the venue this morning. While we were drilling I found out that he has a pretty decent left hook. Our workout was short and sweet; enough to blow open the lungs a bit and correct any last minute issues.

After my mat workout I went into what has now been dubbed by me as the “cold box” (a not-very-hot plywood sauna set up for the tournament) to cool down and get a bit of extra sweat out. While in the warm-up area (which is where the cold boxes are located) I saw the girls getting ready to wrestle; they looked focused and excited. They really seemed ready to get out there and get the job done. I was able to catch one of Elana’s matches and she really looked great out there. I also saw one of Diana’s matches today; I thought she did great. Unfortunately I did not get to see Tatiana wrestle because I had to step out and get something to eat. By the time I got back she had already come up, wrestled, and won. A quick win is not bad at all.

As I started to type this we had two girls in the bronze medal matches, Diana and Tatiana. I’ve just been informed that neither of them were victorious in their respective matches. I’m at the hotel cutting weight so I didn’t go to the finals tonight, but seeing how they wrestled earlier, I’m sure they did great tonight. Also, my parents got in today. I’m excited to see them tomorrow. All the hotels in this city are sold out so they are staying in the next town (a 30 minute drive). They enjoyed their trip over and are excited to see me wrestle on Saturday.

I’m working on making weight so this will be a short post. I’ll be placing some more photos online tonight or tomorrow. I haven’t been as camera happy and touristy the last couple days(which is normal the closer I get to competition) so there are fewer new photos.

I hope everyone is enjoying keeping tabs on the wrestling that’s going on this week. I thank all of you for your kind words and the support that I’ve been getting since I’ve been here. It sure does make the time here easier. Also, I think everyone here (from the fans and the media to the team leaders) is doing a great job keeping tabs on all the wrestling and supporting our teams. I’m thankful for them.

Sept. 22, 2009

The last couple of days have been rather slow as far as wrestling is concerned. We had the day off on Sunday (which I used to sit around and watch almost the entire season 4 of The Wire) and one match on Monday. We found a kebab place that was near our hotel and ended up eating dinner there the last 3 nights. They weren’t the greatest kebabs, but they were worth the repeat visits.

Today we traveled to Herning, where the tournament is taking place. We arrived in time to watch some of the freestyle that’s going on. It was nice to get a sneak peak at the competition site and figure out how everything will be set up. Its good to see many of my friends from other countries that I’ve met through the years and rarely have the chance to visit with. Sometimes these tournaments are like extended family reunions with all the people I get to see and get caught up with. Just another perk that comes with the job I suppose.

When we arrived here in Herning the rumors were confirmed that the training partners will not be staying in the same location as the world team members. So, instead of rooming with B Rupp I’m rooming with my former coach Frauk Sahin. It’s a long story, but the simple version is that back in 2000 when I first went to Northern Michigan, Faruk was a coach there along with Gordy Morgan. He’s the one who initially taught me the reverse lift and told me that one day I will be number one. It’s cool to be on the same team as him almost a full decade later; I’m honored.

As I mentioned earlier, the training partners are not staying in the same location as the rest of us. It turns out that…. Well, I’d like to preface this by saying that while I’m not going to pass judgment at this time, I feel it is necessary to state a couple facts. It turns out that the training partners, along with some of the other members of our delegation (and others as well) , are staying in a makeshift RV park behind the arena. The RVs have electricity but no running water. There are about 150 RVs parked out back behind the main arena where the wrestling is taking place. The showers are located in the building where the practice mats are located. I’ve tried to capture the full scale of this in the images I’ve placed in my gallery. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

I took a few pics of everything today in an attempt to capture the feel of the place. It’s actually been put together quite well, all things considered. So far, I’ve eaten two meals, lunch and dinner, in the “restaurant” that has been set up for us. As it currently stands the count is at 1 and 1 (good meals to bad meals). For lunch we had smoked salmon along with some tomato soup and other things. For dinner we had some sort of beef chili that I heard more complaints about than I’ve heard at a single meal in a long time. All in all, things went smoothly for our first day on site. I even had an impromptu tour of the highways of Herning (long story).

For being a die-hard Greco fan, I think I rather enjoyed myself today as I was watching my fellow Americans compete. There was some really great competition going on. Today we won a silver medal at 84kgs and a bronze medal at 120kgs. I know that it’s never fun lose, but I must say, I really saw some great wrestling from the American freestyle wrestlers today. I’m looking forward to having my turn on the mat. But for now, I’m taking things one day at a time. I have two full days until weigh ins and I plan to use them to get lots of rest and recovery and get ready to go.

As usual, I’ve added a few pics to the gallery from the last couple of days.

Sept. 19, 2009

I’m back again with another update. I didn’t end up getting a chance to blog yesterday because I was hooked on The Wire season 3. By the time I stopped it was well past my bed time. It’s one of those shows that sucks you in and keeps your attention (but what won’t keep my attention when I don’t have anything else to do but work on my laptop, watch movies on my laptop, or sit here). Also, I’m happy that my t-shirt fundraiser has been going well even with me out of the country and preparing for worlds. I’m glad to see how many people are willing to contribute! Thanks again for that. On another note, not too much has been going on these last couple days. We had a game day yesterday where we played basketball (at which I am horrible) and a little game that sort of resembles ultimate frisbee. It was a good change of pace and helped to get a different kind of sweat going. Playing games where you run around beats doing sprints or jogging on a track any day!

Today we had matches; I was feeling pretty good during practice too, I’m quite happy about that. I’m glad that B Rupp is pretty tough and much bigger than me (a little more than 20kgs, or 44lbs, bigger), yet still agile enough to move well, because even on the days where I’m feeling extra strong I still can’t just push him around and still have to work hard for it. I’m feeling good behind the training we’ve done over the past couple months to prepare for next week and I’m once again feeling a bit anxious for it to come.

In the absence of a better segue, I’ll now simply start sharing a few interesting things/tidbits of information from out trip so far. The first is about B Rupp. I was dead asleep a couple nights ago and I heard some muffled crunching sounds. Normally I sleep like a rock, but in a strange place the slightest of noises can wake me from my slumber. The crunching sound just so happened to be loud enough to barely wake me. With extremely sleepy eyes I searched the room (from my bed of course, I was way too tired to move around) to determine the source of the noise. I finally figured out that it was coming from B Rupp’s bed. At first, I thought that it couldn’t be him because I also heard intermittent snoring. Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now I’ll just come out and say it; B Rupp was sleep-eating. This phenomenon is typically found only in heavyweights. It happens when they get hungry and tired at the same time. In this case, he was dead asleep laying in his bead while simultaneously eating some chips he got our our earlier walk that day. Okay, to be honest, I made part of that up. He was actually only half asleep and eating chips, and he wasn’t snoring, he was just breathing heavy (the way some heavyweights do). But being witness to B Rupp’s quasi sleep-eating made me have to tell the tale my way. Another fascinating heavyweight tale is the epic hibernation of Byers (this is a true story). It happens quite a bit but I’m still awestruck every time I bear witness to it. He can sleep for 30 hours straight, be awake for 2 hours to eat, sleep for another 30 hours, eat again, then repeat. It’s down right amazing!

While downtown getting dinner tonight we happened upon a place called Sharks. It’s an America themed diner that, among other things, serves really good burgers. B Rupp and I got there, sat down, saw some kid eating this huge burger and we both had to get one. We ate it, and while it wasn’t quite as good as it looked, it was pretty good indeed. The interesting part of the story comes when we got our checks. Both of us ordered the same thing; burger, fries, and a drink. Our total was 157kr (I previously called them dk, but their money is actually abbreviated kr for kroner). That’s a little over $31 for a burger, fries and a drink. I said that to reiterate an earlier statement about the difference in prices.

I had a few more things to mention, but seeing as how I’m, once again, up well past my bedtime I’ll try to remember them for a later post. Since its late I’ll try to get my latest pictures posted in the morning (evening for you). Oh yeah, I took a picture at Sharks with our burgers; at first it was because they looked so good, but the decision was reaffirmed when we got the bill!
Burgers from Sharks