U.S. Olympic Coach to Wrestlers: ‘We Have to Step Up’ | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

U.S. Olympic Coach to Wrestlers: ‘We Have to Step Up’

February 13, 2013

Must See Wrestling Videos

Sean Bormet is calm for a man who’s just had his life’s work threatened.

Bormet, a freestyle wrestling coach for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team and current assistant coach at the University of Michigan, spent much of the past two decades training grapplers to compete at the international level. Between the guys currently on U of M’s roster and non-scholastic athletes at the school’s regional training center, Bormet currently works with more than 10 wrestlers who he says have a legitimate shot at making an Olympic team. So Tuesday’s announcement that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to exclude Wrestling from the 2020 Games hit Bormet—and the athletes he trains—hard.

“My initial reaction was complete disbelief and shock,” Bormet said in a phone interview. His tone was measured and quiet, and he spoke in straightforward sentences delivered slowly. “Our college guys really have their sights set on 2020, since in our sport it’s common for guys to be physically competitive from age 19 to 32. So these guys would ordinarily have a shot at multiple Olympic cycles.”

Bormet says he received the news about the IOC’s decision just before his team’s 7:00 a.m. workout. After doing some research (“It doesn’t sound like USA Wrestling or the U.S. Olympic Committee expected this either,” Bormet says), he and the other Michigan coaches called the athletes currently training for international competitions in for a meeting.

“We wanted to get as much concrete information into their hands as possible,” Bormet says. “We let the athletes get their initial reaction of frustration out, and then we had practice. Business as usual.”

Wrestling has a long and storied Olympic history that dates back to the 1896 Games in Athens. The IOC’s decision this week doesn’t necessarily signal the end of Olympic Wrestling—two more votes will ultimately decide the sport’s fate—but a tough road lies ahead for grapplers and their fans. Bormet says the decision to remove wrestling makes no sense when he reflects on how the event was received at past games.

“In London the support for wrestling was tremendous,” Bormet says.  “So many fans who traveled to see us weren’t able to get tickets over there because the events were sold out. At each match, the stands were full. Fan and athlete participation are as healthy as they have ever been.”

Wrestling now has to compete against other sports like baseball and softball, sport climbing and wushu for the last remaining spot in the 2020 Games. Bormet says that while wrestling is a healthy sport in the U.S., it may suffer if athletes no longer have the ability to compete at the Olympic level.

“Being an Olympic champion was an aspiration I had as a young boy,” says Bormet, who last attempted to reach the Olympics himself in 1996, when he placed third at the Team Trials. “I think that everyone in our sport grows up with that being their dream, to reach the highest level of our sport, the Olympics. “

When asked about specific consequences that may result from losing Olympic wrestling, Bormet says, “I haven’t even let my mind wander in that direction.” Instead, he’s viewing the IOC decision as “an opportunity to tell our story,” and encouraging the sport’s athletes and fans to get involved however they can, including a “Keep Wrestling in the Olympics” Facebook page.

“Wrestling is a resilient sport. It has a resilient culture,” Bormet says. “We aren’t out of it yet, so we need to rise up and show the world that our sport is worthy of being an Olympic event. This is a big challenge and we have to step up to meet it.”

Photo: Cliffkeenwrestlingclub.com

Topics: WRESTLING | NEWS
Brian Sabin
- Executive Editor Brian Sabin is a Webby Award-winning writer, editor and producer covering all things health, fitness and sports. He previously worked as a Senior...
Brian Sabin
- Executive Editor Brian Sabin is a Webby Award-winning writer, editor and producer covering all things health, fitness and sports. He previously worked as a Senior...
Must See
Brandon Jennings: "Always Improve"
Views: 2,106,933
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 32,304,585
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 21,893,870

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Wisconsin Views: 270,923
Path to the Pros 2015: Training Days Views: 118,412
Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 388,894
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Craig Breslow

Losing Fat: How to Stay Focused During the Holidays

Travis Kelce Could Be the Next Big Thing in the NFL

Preparation Nation: Sierra Canyon Basketball

How to Learn Pull-Ups (Or Anything Else for That Matter)

How to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions

8 Insanely Tough Displays of Athlete Perseverance

Preparation Nation: Bishop Gorman Basketball

Teach Your Athletes How to Set Goals

5 NFL Players Who Were Never Supposed to Win Starting Jobs

The Hustle Stat: Aspects of Your Game that Catch the NBA's Eye

Preparation Nation: Carter Cowboys

4 Excuses Elite Athletes Never Make

How to Motivate Athletes to Train on Their Own

Preparation Nation: Santa Monica Vikings

10 Ways to Earn More Playing Time This Season

Video Documents Man's Journey to 600-Pound Squat

3 Personality Traits for Creating a Winning Team Culture

Why You Need to Play Your Own Game

Preparation Nation: Crespi Carmelite Celts

5 Turkey Bowl Pre-Game Pep Talks, Cheers and Chants

7 Inspirational Athletes and Coaches Who Stand Tall

Become Task-Oriented and Good Outcomes Will Follow

WATCH: How 3 College Football Teams Make Workouts a Blast

Preparation Nation: Pulaski Academy Bruins

Southlake Carroll Personifies Enduring State of Texas Football

Workout Motivation: Principles for Training Like a Champion

How Getting Cut Taught Me The Meaning of Hard Work

The Secret to Coaching an Ace Softball Pitcher

Preparation Nation: Servite Friars

8 Star Athletes Who Had to Walk On to Their College Teams

7 Reasons to See

Franco Harris

What's the Most Effective Coaching Style?

6 Skinny Pro Athletes Who Dominate Their Sport