International Wrestling

What I Learned at the 2018 UWW Men’s Freestyle World Cup

2018 World Cup Champions

Photo by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com

Over two adrenaline-filled days in Iowa City, Team USA claimed it’s first men’s freestyle World Cup since 2003.  The Americans took the crown by beating India, Japan, Georgia, and then Azerbaijan in the gold medal match. Coming on the heels of the team’s victory at last year’s World Championships in Paris, murmurs of best team ever will grow even louder.  That question can’t be fairly answered yet, but we learned a lot this weekend despite that looming question. We’ll break down how historic this win was for Team USA. We’ll answer the question of how big a factor Russia and Iran, both absent, could have been had they attended. We’ll talk about how this version of the American team is starting to seem a lot like a certain college program in one key way.  Then we’ll finish up discussing the uphill battle Senior-level international wrestling has to attract more fans in this country, an incredible third-place dual that saw Japan win over almost everyone who saw it, and a certain situation where challenge bricks should always fly, but rarely do. Come with us now as we discuss what we learned at the 2018 UWW Men’s Freestyle World Cup!

Catch our interviews with all the winners from the final dual and head coach Bill Zadick here.

A historic win for Team USA

Not since the 1997 World Cup, which the United States won by defeating Russia, has Team USA held both the World Cup and World Championship team trophies at the same time.  The Americans won the 1995 World Championships and would have also prevailed at the 1996 Olympics if a team score was kept. 1993 and 1995 are the only two years since the World Cup began in 1973 in which the US has won both, a feat they will look to duplicate later this year in Budapest. 

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