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Wrestlers in Russia: Preparation, Competition, Interaction and Touring

Head Coach Jamie Gibbs and Assistant Coach Mason True
Head Coach Jamie Gibbs and Assistant Coach Mason True

Written by David Shapiro '16

Friday, June 3, 2016:  The Final Preparations Before Copmpeting Against our Russian Friends

Friday was a very enjoyable day. Following breakfast the team went to the only training of the day. It was productive and we worked on fine tuning our skills in the front headlock position.

After lunch and a brief break to relax, the team headed back to the training center, but instead of wrestling, the Russian coaches took us on a nature walk. The woods had a very similar feeling to the Cleveland/ Cuyahoga County Metropark System back home. We took a nice long walk in a loop and got to see some beautiful scenery.

Towards the end of our hike we ended up at what we might call an outdoor fitness center. We saw a group of young Russians working on their gymnastics and parkour tricks. It was pretty amazing to see how talented and strong each of these young athletes were. They put on quite the show for us!

Friday ended with a nice filling meal, and some free time with the team. We are back on the mat on Saturday for our first competition of the trip. We are very excited for the opportunity ahead of us. Go Jackets! 

Saturday, June 4, 2016:  Competing Against our Russian Friends and Interacting With Young Russian Fans

Today was the day that everyone got an opportunity to test out new skills that we have learn from the Russians. The yellow Jackets held their own, but it was obvious the Russians we were wrestling are the best of the best within their age range.

Aside from the wrestling, the competition atmosphere was great. There were thirty to fourty fans who were mostly young children watching their Russian heroes. Before, during and after the competition, young Russian boys would come up to us asking questions about who we are and what America is like. It was a very humbling experience to know that kids looked up to us even though they had no idea about our credentials as wrestlers. After Coach Gibbs gave some of the young wrestlers a Baldwin Wallace drawstring bag, they asked us for autographs.

Following the competition, Team USA enjoyed a very nice picnic lunch outside of our hotel by a pond. It was a very delicious meal that consisted of rice, smoked chicken and lamb. After dinner the team relaxed and had some free time. Tomorrow we take a trip to the inner city of Moscow to visit the Red Square and some other historical sites.

We hope all is well in the states, Go Jackets!

Sunday, June 5, 2016:  Touring Moscow's Historic Sites 

Sunday was a very event filled and eventful day in Moscow. The day began with a bus tour around the city where we learned some history about different historical structures and important figures from Russia's past. We had time to look at an overpass across from Moscow University. This is the highest point in city and allows viewers to pretty much see the whole city from one vantage point.

Later in the afternoon the tour bus dropped us off at Red Square. Within Red Square is the famous Kremlin, marvelous cathedrals and the tomb of Russian leader and hero Lenin. These were some of the most beautiful architectural structures we have ever seen. Almost every building in Red Square was built in brick. We also learned that the color red symbolizes happiness in Russia, therefore this site is supposed to be a place where people can be joyful.

The team spent three hours on their own in the Red Square area, and at the mall right next to it. When we got back together, we took the metro back to where our buses were picking us up. This was an experience in itself. The metro station in Moscow is huge, the biggest we've ever seen. There are 14 different lines that one can ride. Needless to say it was a crazy journey home!

Only a few more days are left in Russia, and they will be filled with more training and sightseeing. The team is excited to head back to the States in a few days to see our loved ones. Until then, Go Jackets! 


2015-2016 Wrestling Preview
November 5, 2015 2015-2016 Wrestling Preview