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Archive for November 2008

A moment of clarity: What does your college wrestling program mean to you?

I’ll preface this by saying I am very proud to walk into my office each day and see a degree from Old Dominion University placed on the wall. It’s no big secret to people within our sport that I attended school there for seven years (hold the Van Wilder jokes until the end). People bring it up frequently, and like any alum, I’m proud of my school.

I had a gutcheck a short time ago. A moment of clarity, if you will. I really don’t like to write about the ODU program much anymore, because, as most of you might guess, my opinions could be viewed as biased towards my particular alma mater. I’ve always made sure my coverage was down the line and fair, equitable and most of all, professional.

But in responding to a post on the CAAZone, a message board for fans of Colonial Athletic Association teams, I took a moment to think about what that program has meant to me and has done for me as an individual, a friend, a writer, and a broadcaster.

Honestly, I really want all our fans, fans of wrestling, to read this.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jason Bryant

November 7, 2008 at 2:46 am

Anyone want to read a big load of crap?

I got a forwarded e-mail this morning from a friend of mine who keeps an eye on all things combat. What I read was of great interest, because Sweden’s Ara Abrahamian has been one of the top Greco-Roman wrestlers in the world for the past decade.

Swedens Ara Abrahamian was fuming at FILA officials for a call he felt cost him a chance at the Gold Medal match in Beijing.

Sweden's Ara Abrahamian was fuming at FILA officials for a call he felt cost him a chance at the Gold Medal match in Beijing.

You remember the Swedish wrestler taking off his medal and setting it in the middle of the mat during the medal ceremony right? Contrary to media reports, Abrahamaian, the wrestler who said “Screw this, I’m outta here,” didn’t “throw” his medal. He felt he was wronged, so he said to his fellow medalists, “Alright guys, congrats, but I’ve got other things to do, PEACE.”

So a few days afterwards, FILA strips Abrahamian of the bronze. Abrahamian already said he didn’t want it, so this was nothing more than a power play to prevent FILA from being upstaged on the sports, well, biggest stage. Abrahamian, however, incited the wrath of the FILA Board and now will have to pay for simply physically showing his protest.

Here’s the PDF of the FILA sanctions handed down yesterday on Sweden’s Ara Abrahamian and his coach, Leo Myllari.

PDF Link Click Here

The Associated Press also ran a story on this: Here’s the ESPN link. You can pick up on the headline sarcasm.

Let’s pull some things from the PDF for some commentary.

The Prosecutor and the Sporting Judge who analysed the case and the investigation procedure, have given their decision:
– No mistake can be attributed to the officiating body that made its decision according to the
current wrestling rules.

Of course there’s “no fault” from FILA officials. This organization treats many of its officials like gods. Letting the media and coaches and athletes fend for themselves for places to stand and warm-up at World Championships, while officials have posh padded seats matside. The only chairs you see on the floor in Baku were for the officials. I can’t back this up with anything, but is there another organization which is so tight with its officials? Was David Stern and the NBA tight with Tim Donaghy? Nope.

It’s not about whether there was a mistake or not, how about letting the wrestlers know what you called, knowing VERY WELL the last point scored wins. The denseness of those higher-ups in FILA are a big reason why American fans can’t understand, or better yet, don’t care to understand, the evolving world of international “wrestling.”

On the other hand,
– For serious lack of Olympic spirit, non-observance of sporting rules and the principle of Fair Play as well
as for scandalous behaviour contrary to the ethics of sport at the end of the match by the wrestler and the
coach;
– For calumny and insults towards FILA, its managing body, the National Federations, coaches and
wrestlers;
– For moral fault and harm to the reputation of the sport of wrestling.

Scandalous behavior? What do you think all these biased officiating claims come from year after year? Scandalous. A protest? Hardly.

Insults towards FILA. Wah Wah Wah. What a bunch of big wigged babies. You cannot make fun of us, we will suspend you, even though we screw up royally all the time.

FILA President Raphael Martinetti

FILA President Raphael Martinetti

Moral Fault and Harm? If Abrahamian would have drop-kicked the referee (which I’m sure now, he might want to have done) I can see “Fault and Harm.” What Abrahamian did, whether you agree with him or not, is human nature. You feel you’ve been wronged, you speak up about it. Yes, after a while, you will “get over it.” Abrahamian showed he was “over it” by showing up FILA.

That’s why he’s being punished and yes — SUSPENDED — for TWO YEARS from international competition. He’s being fined 3,000 in Swiss Francs and can’t even compete within his own country. His coach got a two year ban and 10K in fines.

Oh, and the COUNTRY is banned from holding competition for two years. WTF!

TWO YEARS. That’s right. Can you imagine Allen Iverson or Jeremy Shockey getting a two-year ban for mouthing off to an official? Granted, I wouldn’t mind seeing a little less of “The Answer,” but the fact remains we’re argumentative as a people … but there’s one group you cannot SHOW UP if you’re wrestling — FILA.

By contrast, folks will say USA Wrestling is tight-lipped about things. Message board chatter can be pulled when it either attacks, gets out of hand, or who knows why, but if FILA were to have a message board, the only messages allowed would likely be “FILA is Great.” If you said “FILA is okay,” then expect to get banned — for two years.

My message to FILA is simply this — we know, we all know why you suspended Abrahamian, he made you look bad. Suck it up and take it like a man, suspending Abrahamian only shows how pius and arrogant FILA is as an organization.

The only thing FILA proves by making this type of decision is that they are almighty and shall never be questioned. What a bunch of crap.

Written by Jason Bryant

November 6, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Still time to get out there people

I gripe about hating politics, but I have that right to gripe.

If you haven’t gotten out to vote, don’t make excuses. I don’t care who you vote for, just get out there and vote.

Yes, I took this with my crappy camera phone.

Written by Jason Bryant

November 4, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Well, how’s that for a start?

Saturday’s time for college football and someway, somehow, one of my roommates has overtaken the downstairs TV and we’re watching commie kickball — soccer.

Northwestern and Minnesota are knotted at halftime, but the knot of the day comes in the very first dual meet of the year between Division I teams at the Fighting Scot Duals up in Edinboro, Pa.

I think you can ice fish in Edinboro 13 months out of the year, but they do know how to wrestle up there. Edinboro blanked Division II Findlay 38-0, but in the first all-D1 dual, Mike Sprigg’s late takedown lifted Army into a 19-19 tie with #17 Maryland.

Obviously the outcome was impacted with two-time NCAA qualifier Mike Letts not appearing for the Terps. But you can’t base results on who wasn’t there.

Big match of the dual was at 149 pounds where All-American Matt Kyler rallied from an early 5-0 defecit to pin Maryland sophomore Eric Medina. The only other fall registered in the dual was by the only other All-American in the line-up, Maryland’s Hudson Taylor. Richard Starks struck first, taking down Taylor, but the former Blair Academy stud turned the tables and pinned Starks later in the first.

For a live-time update of what’s going on, my former gig, InterMat, is trotting out the new live coverage system developed and given to college teams for free. The NWCA Scorebook is in action. Check out the rest of the day’s events here. Click “COL LIVE CVG MEETS” and then click the date to see duals in progress and other results.

Written by Jason Bryant

November 1, 2008 at 12:50 pm