Quotes from USA Olympic Greco-Roman Team at competition, updated through Monday

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Aug. 15, 2016, 9:21 a.m. (ET)
 
 Robby Smith (USA) works a front head lock on Shariati (AZE) in the 
first round of the Olympic Games at 130 kg. Photo: Larry Slater.
TheMat.com will be providing quotes from the U.S. wrestlers during their Mixed Zone interviews. Videos and audio from the Mixed Zone can not be posted, so we want to share what they say with our fans.

MONDAY AUGUST 15 (85 kg and 130 kg)

Ben Provisor 85 kg

NBC Video: Ben Provisor: 'I felt like I had the right game plan'

“I thought I was doing pretty well on my feet. The second period, I got a little flustered when they called me for passivity. I didn’t think I was going to be put down again. I thought he was blocking a lot. It is my fault. In par terre, I stopped moving. He got me up and I let him throw me. The first time, I defended him well. The second time, I didn’t defend as well. I got caught in that lift and thrown. I had the feeling he was going to have a hard time coming back. I broke him pretty well in that match. He really couldn’t even stand. I knew, once I lost that match, that the possibility of him finishing two more matches on top was not great.”

“I have to hope that I can come back in four years and do it again. It sucks that I didn’t have the chance to go as far in this tournament than I wanted to but it is a live-and-learn process. The last three or four years, I have not been able to be on this stage. Now that I have gotten on this stage, I know I can wrestle and bang with these guys as well as I can. I made one mistake. I let the refs get to me a little bit and it is what it is.”

“This is important to me. That guy took second in the World Championships last year and I know I am right there. If I didn’t stop moving in par terre, I could have beaten him. I made a mental mistake. It is great for me to feel that I can go hard with these guys for six minutes. He couldn’t stand up at the end. It is nice to feel that way but at the end of the day, my goals weren’t accomplished. Now I have to move on and be ready for the next one.”

“I am definitely going to keep wrestling. Wrestling is my life. I am not going to start going until my goals are met. It is not about winning. I know when I am out there that I am at this level. I need to push for six minutes and start that way the whole time. I can’t let refs get to me. I don’t think I need a mental more push. I am right there with these guys and I need to put a whole match together and not let anything get to me. For me now, I am going to concentrate on getting better every day. I have to go back to the drawing board, and back to how to get better.”

Robby Smith 130 kg

NBC Video: Robby Smith optimistic on future of U.S. Greco-Roman team

“I was prepared for this day. This is the day I have been looking for my whole entire life. I was very excited to wrestle. I was in the best condition in my life. I thought I wrestled a very good match. I was prepared to go four matches today. It didn’t happen. I came out solid in the first round. I felt amazing. I was scoring. I was moving him, making him move, and my power felt good. Coming out in the second round, his adjustment was to hold on and stall until I got a passivity. They knew it was going to happen for him. I should have probably moved my feet a little bit more. Then I got gutted. It has been my weakness the whole time. I am going to go back and fix things and come back at the 2017 Worlds and do what I have to do. It is what it is. I digress and I move on. I made an Olympic Team. It sucks that I don’t have that medal around my neck. I am way better than what happened out there today.”

“My teammates are amazing. This team is way better than how it performed. I don’t know what happened out there. These guys deserve it. Everybody is top-notch. We are a band of brothers. We are strong. We will come back stronger. That is what we will do. That is who we are. We don’t give up.”

“I am going to go home, see my family and see my friends and relax, let my body heal up. I plan on losing some weight. I plan on getting leaner. I plan on spending a whole month in the weight room. I don’t plan on stepping on a mat for a while. But I plan on stepping on the mat again. I’ll train my butt off. I will always do it. I gave 100% of me. I almost made a miraculous comeback last year at worlds. This year, the guy knew it, so he just stalled.

National Greco-Roman Coach Matt Lindland on Monday (85 kg and 130 kg)

NBC Video: U.S. Greco-Roman coach Matt Lindland on Provisor, Smith

“They are willing to do what it takes. They are willing to get on the road. They are willing to put themselves in the training environments I asked them to do. They have done everything I asked them to do.”

“Robby went out there. He hit the guy with a four-point move and it only got scored two. We knew we could break him. But Robby got turned. That’s the deal. Maybe he was more aggressive, maybe he should have had the chance on top, but he didn’t. When you go down, you have to stop the guy. You can’t get out of position. You have to continue to move. That’s what happened. You don’t want to wrestle Robby Smith. He knows how to wrestle. He is a phenomenal technician. He is capable of getting to the body. He is capable of throwing guys with arm throws and headlocks. So you just don’t wrestle him. Then you get on top and hope you can turn him. That is the strategy that wins matches and you move to the next round. He didn’t get past Riza, and Riza is another guy who can wrestle.”

“Ben had great strategy going into that match and he stuck to his game plan the first period. Again, I don’t think he was the guy who was passive. He had to put somebody down and they decided to put Ben down. He has got to stop the top game.”

“We have got to continue doing what we are doing. I just started working with these guys two years ago full time. I got to work with them a little bit as a volunteer in 2013. I fell in love with the team, the guys. They are a part of each other’s lives. They are more than a team; they are a family. I want to continue that. How we get better in par terre is we have got to keep going to Europe. We don’t have anybody in America, anybody in North America, anybody in South America who can turn us. We have got to be in Europe. We have got to be training with these guys and competing with these guys. We need to do what we are doing and it is just going to take some time.”

“We have to be more technical. I understand that Americans fight hard and they have a good gas tank. We are not going to change that. We will continue to fight and be tough and well-conditioned. We have to be some of the best technicians in the world. I believe the best technicians are in Europe. We have got to go train with them and compete with them. We have access to the same footage. We are watching the same film everybody else is watching. It’s the feel. You can watch it, but if you get turned, it’s a feel. You have to make the adjustments on the fly. They are just tiny adjustments. If your hips come up, you get lifted. If your hip goes down on one side too far, you get turned. We have got to stop being turned on top.”

“These guys are always prepared. The fact is we have six weight classes. We went from 10 to eight to now we are at six, and we squeezed all the best guys in, and stuck them into six classes. There is so much depth. I don’t think people understand the level we are up against in this country. We are still in the mindset that we can spend four or five years wrestling folkstyle and we can make that switch. That’s crazy. That’s insane. We have to get Tracy Hancocks, Kamal Beys. We have to get young, young men and start training them in Greco in this country and we have to be preparing them early. We need Cadet titles, Junior titles. We are barely starting to get Juniors to focus on Greco. We have guys wrestling freestyle, folkstyle. This is bull. If they want to start wrestling in the world, to beat the best guys, we have got to start wrestling the style that they are wrestling. That is it. That is basic common sense. We can’t think that we are going to do something different than everybody else in the world and get different results. This didn’t help. We didn’t have a great performance. We didn’t inspire them. You know what, if you are not making it on the freestyle ladder, the folkstyle ladder, there is a path. If you have a lot of courage, a lot of heart, a lot of guts and you are willing to go out there and wrestle, guys like Robby and Andy, they are out competing and putting themselves out there. It takes time to do that. We can’t be bouncing around, changing styles, and calling this a Greco season. This is a sport we do full time.”

 
 Jesse Thielke (USA) turns Messaoudi (MAR) in the first round of
the Olympic Games. Photo: John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 14 (59 kg and 85 kg)


Jesse Thielke 59 kg

NBC Video: Jesse Thielke: 'I will never lose a match again'

“I wrestled him in Azerbaijan. I knew he had a great straight lift. I thought I was moving enough. After the first period, we got onto our feet. I tried to do a key lock, I kind of tripped and fell down to the mat. That could have been a challenge, but that block was late, so basically trying to challenge at the end of the match when I was losing 6-0. It was an odd series of events.”

“There is no forced par terre after this year so I will never lose a match again. I will never have to go down again, and that is the only spot where I can get beat.”

(on Bayramov getting pinned in semis)
“He was winning 2-0. All he had to do was pop him back, get five points on the board and pretty much end the match. But he gets choked out and pinned and then can’t get off his back. And I don’t get a chance to come back for bronze. It’s upsetting. I should have won the match. I should have defended. I should have not challenged so many things. There’s nothing you can do now. I just have to move forward.”

“The only positive I can see right now, obviously at this time, is I didn’t get psyched out. I didn’t treat this as anything but another tournament. Laser focused, head on straight the whole time, so, I mean, that’s positive. My composure is not going to change. I have that in the bag. We will see what happens now. I will be here. And I will be back with a vengeance.”

Andy Bisek 75 kg

NBC Video: Andy Bisek reflects on Olympic debut after quarterfinal loss

“I went out there and felt good, felt I was dominating in positions on the feet, really close to scoring and. I don’t know, I didn’t get a turn on top. Huge failure, a mistake and then when I went down, I got out of position, I got turned. I wasn’t moving the right way. I got turned and got behind. I thought I had a good chance on my feet. I was controlling. I almost got takedowns. He came back with a good amount of determination to stay solid. He really prevented me from getting anything going.”

“I felt good with my wrestling, my conditioning, my body. I felt strong. I made a few mistakes. I should have gotten a takedown earlier in that match and I shouldn’t have gotten turned. My par terre movement wasn’t what it should have been. I should have been able to fight and get some scoring in the second period.”

“It is very frustrating, but when you win it’s extremely rewarding. That’s what we’re doing it for, to have the total package, to have it all together on that day.”

(toughest thing to swallow?)
“Not getting the job done. Knowing I am fully capable. I have all the tools I need. I have the skills. The body has been conditioned for it, to get the job done.

(on Starcevic/Vlasov semifinal, when it appeared Vlasov was pinned)
“Absolutely it was strange. The fact that the ref ripped him off with time on the clock. He got a get out of jail free card. I don’t know how he hung in there. That was very impressive. I didn’t think he would be able to maintain, but it shows why he has been a champion over and over again.”

National Greco-Roman Coach Matt Lindland on Sunday (59 kg, 75 kg)

NBC Video: U.S. Greco-Roman coach Matt Lindland talks Thielke, Bisek

“We got turned. Bottom line. We got turned in both matches. It’s a simple answer. You saw it as well as I did.”

“We wrestled hard. We went out there and battled and we came up short. There are not a whole lot of conversations about that. Things didn’t go the way we wanted it to go. That was what the conversations were about.”

(on Vlasov’s semifinal when it appeared he was pinned. A Vlasov loss pulls Bisek back in)
“That was interesting. He was definitely out. Was the time out? Did they call the fall, or not call the fall because of the choke? I watched it on the screen. I was not out in the arena. It was hard for us to tell. It was definitely an interesting match. Technically, you can’t choke the guy. But you can grab the head with an arm in it and you can turn him. Do you call the move illegal because he happened to pass out, or do you score two like they did? We got the points but they did not call the fall.”

(on Jesse Thielke?
“I think Jesse is an incredible wrestler. We will see what happens after this year, if they will take the forced par terre away. That’s a possibility. It’s a constant battle. We are still going to make those adjustments. They took forced par terre out of the Juniors and Cadets the last two years. It looks as though it is going that way, but I haven’t heard anything officially.”

(on Robby Smith and Ben Provisor on Monday)
“We have two more shots. We have very capable athletes. We are excited to get them on the scale and get fueled up and hydrated, and get them ready to compete tomorrow. It’s another day.”