Posts tagged ‘World Wrestling Championships’
It figured that Cael Sanderson would be dismayed with his performance Saturday at the world freestyle championships—he lost in the second round (albeit to the eventual world champion from Azerbaijan) and lost again in the bronze-medal match. It’s hardly going out on a limb to say that Sanderson doesn’t like to lose. Or to say that he didn’t come back from a seven-year break from competition to finish fifth.
But Sanderson’s reaction was particularly emotional.
A few hours after the loss, Sanderson spoke with Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling, saying at one point that he wanted to “climb in a hole somewhere” and later actually breaking down while answering a question about his protégé, Jake Varner, who won a bronze medal. “He’s the man,” Sanderson said, ducking his head and trying to choke back a sob. (For the video, click here, go to page 2, and scroll down.)
The next day, speaking to an interviewer from Flowrestling, Sanderson said, “I’m not sure why the heck I’m wrestling right now, or why I did. It seemed like a good idea for a little while. I kind of got into it … and you’ve got to finish what you start.” (more…)
So it’s time for Cael Sanderson to take his comeback to the next level and attempt to do something he’s never done before—win a gold medal at the world wrestling championships.
He’s already won the U.S. World Team Trials after a seven-year layoff, and he dominated in his first international tournament since the 2004 Olympics. The worlds, which are being held in Istanbul, Turkey, started earlier this week with Greco-Roman and women’s events preceding the freestyle, and the hype has been building.
Check out this cover story from Wednesday’s USA Today, which mentions both his competitive success and his success coaching Penn State. It’s also worth clicking on this Des Moines Register link for a slide show of Sanderson’s Iowa State years, which includes a photo of Sanderson with some of his drawings (No. 4), a bobblehead that looks nothing like him (No. 14), and a posed shot with Iowa coach Tom Brands (No. 33).
Sanderson is considered the favorite at 185 pounds … by the Americans, at least. As this survey of international wrestling journalists shows, he’s not the consensus favorite. The Iranian writer picked the wrestler from Uzbekistan, for instance, and the Japanese journo likes the Russian. (And that’s how the U.S. writers tend to refer to wrestlers from other countries, by their nationalities. I keep wondering if Sanderson is known outside our borders as “The American.”) And it’s worth noting that Sanderson never dominated internationally the way he did in the U.S. The 2010 world champion, Bulgaria’s Mihail Ganev, is also in the field, and “the Uzbek,” Zaurbek Sokhiev, won the 2009 world title. (more…)
So it turns out that Cael Sanderson was a little bored. That’s all. Maybe you’d think coaching Penn State’s wrestling team to its first NCAA title since 1953 is time-consuming enough. Well, Sanderson was sitting around last summer after the world championships and wondering whether he was making the most productive use of his time.
He decided he wasn’t. So he returned to elite competition Saturday after a seven-year layoff and won a berth on the U.S. freestyle team for the world championships this September in Istanbul. And, really, “returned” isn’t quite the right verb. He dominated the field, easily dispatching the defending world silver medalist, Jake Herbert, in the best-of-three finals. (Watch here to see how easy Sanderson made it look.)
“There is plenty of time in the day to add a little bit more, and I really thought hard about it,” Sanderson said after the match. (Interview video here; like the previous link, this comes from the fun guys at FloWrestling.)
“My job right now is coaching the Penn State wrestling team, and that is my top priority next to God and my family. I could go home at the end of the day and try and master Call of Duty, or be a little more focused and try and wrestle.” (more…)