Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Wrestlers Wrap-Up Cultural Exchange in Russia

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

Written by David Shapiro '16

Monday, June 6:   Training and Getting Know Our Russian Friends

Monday was a fairly standard day here in Russia. We had one training in the morning followed by a game of Russian Basketball in the afternoon. As I explained earlier, this is a very physical game that involves no dribbling and a lot of tackling. As you can expect, as the game went on the play got a little chippy.

Some observations we have made while in Russia are important to nore. One is that the driving here is pretty reckless and we are still having a difficult time learning the rules of the road. Second is just how much alike we are compared to the Russian wrestlers. They are young men just like us who love wrestling and like to have a good time.

When we spend free time with the Russians it is full of laughs. We joke around with each other, just as we would with are American friends. We talk about girls, talk smack about wrestling each other, and sing the words to songs we all know. Most of us didn't know what to expect when we came here. But from our time here, we all agree that it doesn't matter where we come from because we are all young athletes living life, and that is a beautiful thing. As I write this blog some of my teammates are on FaceTime with Aslan, one of the wrestlers who left the training facility today to go "train in the mountains" in preparation for the European Championships.

Tomorrow we have our last training session, and then we will spend the afternoon at the Russian bath. We look forward to the two days we have left here. Go Jackets! 

Tuesday, June 7: The Russian Bath House and Getting to know the Venezuelan's

Tuesday was one of the last days in Russia. We had one training session in the morning, which was led by the program director George. Afterwards some of the team went to the Russian bath house, while Zeckary Lehman, Tyler Maclellan and Gabe Mahaney stayed back to workout with Jose Diaz while he continues to train for the Rio Olympics.

The Russian bath or "Bahnah" was a great experiences. The complex looked like it was some type of resort, and we were put in what seemed to be a hotel room with two floors. Their were showers, a steam room, sauna, cold tub and a hot tub. The wood work within our lodge was beautiful. The team had a great time relaxing in the sauna, eating different types of food, and sipping on some of the best lemonade we have ever had.

In the evening we played a large game of cards and spent most of our time talking and joking around with the Venezuelan coach and Jose's doctors, who are both actually from Cuba. Wednesday is our last day and we will spend it in Moscow city. Our flight leaves at 6 am Thursday morning and we are gearing up for the long journey home.

See you soon Jacket Nation! 

Wednesday, June 8:  Our Last Day in Russia and Visiting Moscow

Team USA spent the last day of the trip in Moscow and taking in as much as we could before we headed for home. After taking the metro into the city the team walked from Red Square to a boating dock where we picked up a yellow engine boat with a huge Lays chips advertisement on it. This boat took us up and down the Moscow River for two hours while we took in the beautiful sights of the city.

Following the boat tour, our athletes took a couple hours to themselves in the city. We did some last minute shopping and sightseeing. Once we returned to the hotel, we were given one last meal in the cafeteria. Once dinner was finished, we packed our bags and got in some last minute card games while we waited for the bus t take us to the airport.

We begin our journey home with an early morning flight to France. Followed by a layover, we head to Chicago, and the final van ride back to Cleveland.

The members of the Yellow Jackets who got to experience this amazing trip are very grateful for the opportunity. We have realized that this means much more than just wrestling. We hope we can share as many cultural experiences with the BW community as possible. I would like to thank everyone who followed along during our time in Russia! Go Jackets!  


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