Dingo in Vegas at the World Championships (Day 3)
Greetings from Las Vegas. While the first two days have had some really exciting moments, at the end of two days,the US has only 1 medal to show for their effort. I saw Harry Lester being interviewed after his repechage loss and he was extremely emotional about his day's work. Robby Smith was, conversely, ecstatic about his non-medal performance, and rightly so. He really energized the crowd in a way that only Bisek equaled or surpassed.
Day 3 brings the final Greco competition, and 3 women's freestyle weights. The US draws are as follows:
85kg/187 lbs Jordan Holm Vs. Javid Hamzatov (Belarus) --Three-time World team member Side Show Holm brings a high energy style, along with high energy hair, to the mat against Hamzatov. He won gold at the Dave Schultz and the Hungarian Grand Prix, and currently sports a #13 World ranking. Hamzatov sits one place higher at #12, but Holm, in my opinion, has the ability to surprise in this event. Of course, the kind draws for the US ended on day 1, so Holm will have to navigate a tough field that features former World champ #10 Melonin Noumonvi of France, #1 David Chekvetadze of Russia, #2 Zhan Belenyuk of Ukraine and #3 Habibollah Akhlaghi of Iran. If Cuba's heavyweight Lopez can be beat, anyone can be beat, so Holm might pull a surprise or two.
48kg/105.5 lbs Alyssa Lampe Vs. Thi Hang Vu (Vietnam) -- World #13 Lampe gets a nice opening matchup vs. unranked Vu of Vietnam. Of course, Vu was still a Junior World silver medalist in 2012, so she's no slouch. Lampe is coming off a 5th place finish at World's and could be poised to make a big move in this year's home country tourney. Standing at the very top of the weight class are two dominant competitors: #1 and multi-X World and Olympic champ Eri Tosaka, possibly the second most dominant woman wrestler in the world (to teammate Saori Yoshida), and the very consistent #2 Mariya Stadnyk of Azerbaijan. Lampe will need to use her physical, American style to wear down her opponents. She should win her opening match and has a very solid shot at a bronze.
53kg/116.5 lbs Whitney Conder Vs. Isabelle Sambou (Senegal) -- #11 Conder also draws an unranked opponent, although Sambou was fifth at the 2012 Olympics. Conder is a former Junior World champ and won Pan Am gold this year, so she has some nice accomplishments already. This is her 3rd World team,and this could be the one where she medals. The aforementioned Saori Yoshida of Japan is the most successful wrestler of all-time, male or female. She recently broke Karelin's record of World titles, as she currently has 15 World titles, including 3 Olympic golds. #2 Sofia Mattsson of Sweden is a 5-time World medalist and is very consistently in the money at Worlds. Conder is a similar bet for bronze as Lampe.
69kg/152 lbs Elena Pirozhkova Vs. Vs. Alison Keju (Marshall Islands) -- #8 Pirozhkova is one of the three former World champs in this division. She, like Lampe and Conder, drew an unranked opponent. I had no idea where the Marshall Islands were, so I looked it up. It's a part of Micronesia in the South Pacific. Keju is considered to be Marshallese...so now you know. Pirozhkova is plenty capable of medaling, as she has done so 4 times at the World level. This is a more open weight class than the two previously listed, and Pirozhkova could win the whole shebang. Hopefully, the 'home' crowd (she was born in Russia) gets her pumped and she wrestles to her full ability. Standing in her way are #1 Natalia Vorobieva (Russia), former World champs #3 Alina Makhinya (Ukraine) and #9 Jenny Fransson (Sweden), as well as #2 Feng Zhou of China.
Here's to hoping for 4 US medals tomorrow. U-S-A!!