Within my first 48 hours in Budapest I walked over 20 miles. I walked across the Chain Bridge, up the steps of Fisherman’s Bastion, and walked circles around Budapest’s Parliament. Over the course of a week I probably ate about 20 gyros. But most importantly I got to watch the best wrestlers in the world battle it out for the right to call themselves World Champions.

It is incredible watching the World Championships and seeing the small things in preparation for the incredible event.I’ve learned an incredible amount about this sport. Most things I actually already knew, but seeing it at the highest level emphasizes it even more. Below are some things I saw during my week in Budapest:

  1. Be thankful for the opportunity to compete. You never know when your time may be up!
    1. Helen Maroulis had an injury this season and she didn’t know if she’d ever compete again. Although her result was not what she wanted she was still thankful to represent her country!
    2. Nashon Garrett made his first Senior World Team and was injured and unable to compete. You never know when things will go south.
  2. Be humble in victory & defeat
  3. The things that work at the lowest level stay the same at the highest level. There are no secrets, there are no techniques that set the best apart.
  4. It all starts with belief! Belief in yourself, your training, and those around you!
  5. Don’t protect a lead, build on it! Those who tried to protect their lead failed!
  6. Wrestling is not a game, don’t play the game!
    1. I saw a lot of matches lost by people playing into the game of shot clocks, passive, fleeing the hold, etc. Those who didn’t pull the trigger and waited around seldom had the result of victory.
  7. You are never too young to be a champion!
    1. Japan’s Takuto Otoguro become his nation’s youngest World Champion at the ago of 19
    2. Russia’s Zaurbek Sidakov defeated Five-Time World Champion Jordan Burroughs(USA) and Two-Time World Champion Frank Chamizo(ITA) JUST TO MAKE THE FINALS!
  8. You never know when your number is going to get called! Always be prepared!
    1. Joe Colon found out 12 days prior to competition he would represent his country. Colon took home a bronze medal for Team USA.
  9. A true champion does not define themselves by wins & losses!
    1. Moments after Kyle Snyder lost to Sadulaev, he said wins & losses do not define him, but he is defined by his faith in Jesus
    2. “A true champion is not defined by the color of his medal, but the size of his heart”-Jordan Burroughs
  10. The difference in talent and ability at the highest level is minimal. Some times the difference is conditioning. Not just the body, But also the mind!
  11. Success is not guaranteed and the replication of success at the highest level is extremely difficult!
    1. Of the eight Freestyle World Champions from 2017 only ONE repeated – Geno Petriashvili(GEO)
  12. Although there may be setbacks, you have to refocus & get the next best thing. (Reset Button)
    1. Although sometimes an athletes may be down at the break, their ability to refocus and push through proved to be the difference (David Taylor)
    2. Although every athlete in that gym came for Gold, it was extremely important to refocus after taking a loss to look for the next best thing – Bronze.
  13. Anybody can be beaten on any given day.
  14. The best athletes seek out the best competition!
    1. J’Den Cox, Kyle Dake, & David Taylor all were in the same bracket in the 2016 Olympic Trials. In 2018 they are all WORLD CHAMPIONS!

I have been around some of the best wrestling America has to offer, but never have I learned more than I did with my experience in Budapest. I am extremely grateful to have witnessed a historic week where Team USA took home Three Gold, One Silver and Three Bronze Medals.

-Christian Olanowski