JB's Comments About John Smith - "He's the best that ever did it"

Discussion in '34 and counting' started by Wrassler17, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    This is an interview with Jordan Burroughs at the World Team Camp earlier this month. JB always gives a great interview. Around the 5:15 mark, he talks about the coaches that he's worked with and he has some nice things to say about John Smith. The actual comments only last for about 30 seconds. I just thought it was pretty cool for one of the greatest competitors of this generation to recognize John's knowledge and mindset regarding wrestling.

     
    hawkssox1, osuind and oberebo like this.
  2. oberebo

    oberebo Heisman Candidate
    Gold Member
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    8,629
    Likes Received:
    610
    Location:
    Shawnee,OK
    Great interview Wrassler, thanks for posting.
     
    Wrassler17 likes this.
  3. CowboyUp61

    CowboyUp61 2nd Team
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    511
    Likes Received:
    224
    He is just repeating what we already know!
     
  4. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    I saw this on twitter and thought it was pretty cool. Before winning the first of his six consecutive gold medals, John Smith already had wins over the 1983/1985 and the (eventual) 1986 World Champions.

    We know true sophomore John Smith lost to Jim Jordan (the father of our current volunteer coach Zeke Jordan) in the 1985 NCAA finals. In an interview with David Mirikitani back in June, he said that Jordan shut him down completely. He thought to himself, I'm not sure I beat him if we wrestle again in a week or even if we wrestle again in 6 months. John knew he had to get better.

    So just how much did he improve after that match? Well, we also know that he spent his 1986 redshirt year perfecting his low single and then would reel off 6 straight gold medals (plus 2 NCAA titles). But before winning that first gold, he beat the eventual 1986 World Champion Khazar Issaev of the USSR. John did not compete in the 1986 World Championships (they were held late that year, in late October) or it is very likely he would have won 7 straight gold medals (instead Issaev went on to beat Joe McFarland for the gold).

    Here is their 1986 Goodwill Games match (before John's first gold and his first NCAA title):


    Then in April 1987, 2 weeks after winning his first NCAA title (but still before his first gold), John defeated Viktor Alexeev of the USSR in a dual. Alexeev was the 1983 and 1985 World Champion.
    Here is their match:


    So John beat the 1983/1985 and (would be) 1986 world champs before winning his first gold. He was pretty good at that wrestling thing.
     
  5. SAWolverine

    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    30
    Great find. I enjoyed those 2 matches!!!
     
    Wrassler17 likes this.
  6. Old Number Nine

    Old Number Nine 2nd Team
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    87
    I remember seeing the second video years ago and I always have wondered, what do you call the move Smith hits at 2:45?
     
  7. CowboyUp61

    CowboyUp61 2nd Team
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    511
    Likes Received:
    224
    mat awareness :)
     
  8. wehweh

    wehweh Redshirt
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    4
    Smith's move at the 2:45 mark is called the "Metzgar".
     
  9. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
  10. CowboyUp61

    CowboyUp61 2nd Team
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    Messages:
    511
    Likes Received:
    224
    lots of fun watching those! Got to watch some in person, and time had dulled the memory. thanks for posting!
     
    Wrassler17 likes this.
  11. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    I saw on instagram that the Beloglazov twins, Sergei and Anatoly, have been giving various clinics across the country. Last week they were in Oklahoma and it reminded me of this match posted by OkieSpladle (on TOM) a couple of months ago.

    This is John Smith vs Sergei at the 1989 World Grand Championships. Sergie was a 2x Olympic champion and a 6x World champion (seven at 57 kg and one at 62 kg). So that's 14 gold medals represented on the mat in this one. Have I mentioned that John was pretty good at that wrestling thing?

     
    CowboyUp61 likes this.
  12. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    Sergie Beloglazov was just named head coach of the Michigan RTC. But that's really just an excuse for me to come back to this thread...

    It just dawned on me that John Smith beat every 1982-1986 world champion (62 kg). He beat the ones I listed above, plus he beat 1984 Olympic champ Randy Lewis at the 1988 Olympic Trials. So he defeated all of the 1982-1986 world champs and then won gold himself from 1987-1992.

    Did I mention he was pretty good at wrestling?

     
    lookleft goright likes this.
  13. lookleft goright

    lookleft goright 2nd Team
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Messages:
    824
    Likes Received:
    27
    You know I was wondering. Was John Smith any good at that wrestling thin?
     
    Wrassler17 likes this.
  14. lookleft goright

    lookleft goright 2nd Team
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Messages:
    824
    Likes Received:
    27
    I love how artistic (for lack of a better word) Smith was. Some guys look at wrestling as brute force and forcing your will on the other guy etc.. and some treat it as a graceful and beautiful sport. Smith was graceful and watching him wrestling was to see beauty in action. On top of that, he was mentally as tough as nails. He was pretty good at that wrestling thing. Or so I have heard.
     
  15. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    I agree, more Apollo Creed than Clubber Lang.

    Oh and you heard right BTW. :D
     
    lookleft goright likes this.
  16. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    With the 2018 MFS World Championships wrapped up, it's time to return to the John Smith appreciation thread. :)

    Only one of the 2017 MFS champs was able to repeat this year -- Petriashvili (GEO, 125 kg). Burroughs and Snyder may have lost, yes, but so did the following -- Yazdani (IRI, 86 kg) Chamizo (ITA, 70/74 kg), Aliyev (AZE, 61 kg), Takahashi (JPN, 57 kg) and Lakobishvili (GEO, 65 kg).

    JO summed it up with this tweet on day 2 - BOW DOWN!

     
  17. BanjoSaysWoof

    BanjoSaysWoof Recruit
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    13
    I think "kids nowadays" need to see this. I was talking with my friend's kid (kid is a 15 year old in Ohio who wrestles) while we played fortnite together (judge not lest ye be judged). He tried to convince me Kyle Snyder is the best American wrestler ever.

    He had no idea who Aleksandr Karelin was. Or why the name Rulon Gardner is relevant.

    I need to tell that kid to get off my lawn, huh?
     
    Velvet Elvis and Wrassler17 like this.
  18. OkieSpladle

    OkieSpladle Redshirt
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    57
    Until yesterday John Smith had more losses at Senior-level World Championships/Olympics than Snyder did. Karelin too for that matter.

    You know what Snyder, Smith, Karelin, Burroughs, and a bunch of others have in common? They're all freaking amazing!
     
    CowboyUp61 likes this.
  19. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    That or next time put him in a headlock and deliver some nuggies.
     
    Ja1339 likes this.
  20. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    Spladle, I agree they are all great, but only one of them has all yellow medals.

    I think you are referring to John's late round SV loss to Reinoso (CUB) in 1992. But to be fair, I think that should be put into context. Under the tournament scoring at that time, the tie breaker for determining tournament advancement was total points scored. John had a huge lead heading into that Reinoso match, basically he was going to the finals unless he got pinned. I'm sure he wasn't happy about dropping the match, but I think if that was an elimination bout, he likely wrestles it very differently.

    When it was crunch time, John was "gold". The GOAT.
     
  21. OkieSpladle

    OkieSpladle Redshirt
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    57
    Oh, I know the context. Maybe he would have won had he needed to, maybe he would not have. He certainly knew where he stood. After Snyder's loss this year, there is no question in this debate, but at the time of the conversation in question (if I'm reading that right) Snyder had all yellow medals too.

    My point by bringing up Smith's loss is that comparing across eras can be tricky. Scoring changes, rules change, and the system of competition changes. In Smith's era, you needed to beat one Soviet. Now, 10 of those guys compete (at least). In the old days, there was very little film (or none) on some of these guys. Now, almost everyone that shows up at a World Championships/Olympics is a known quantity. I could go on, but you get the idea.

    6 for 6 is easy to use as a comparison tool and you'll get no argument from me putting Smith as the best to ever do it. I just think its important to appreciate the greats of every era as well.
     
    Rdcldad likes this.
  22. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    Spladle, I figured you would know the context/situation. You raise some very good points, although I don't necessarily agree with everything. The first thing I'll say is that I do agree that we should appreciate the "greats" of wrestling. JB, Snyder, Saitiev, and Sadulaev - all superstars, along with others. But debating the greatest ever is fun, whether it's wrestling or another sport. Certainly no slights are intended.

    The circumstances of the Reinoso match are important in my opinion. I actually watched it again last night and I forgot that John was the aggressor throughout (attacks were probably 6-1 in favor of John). You say maybe he would have won if had to or maybe he wouldn't have. But you have to compete with the rules in place at the time, right? My analogy would be (when it was still best of 3 periods in FS) someone winning the 1st period, dropping the 2nd, and then winning the 3rd. No one would remember (or care) about that 2nd period. Both John and Reinoso knew entering the match that Reinoso needed to win big, yet Reinoso took only 1 shot (in SV actually and he didn't score off of it).

    I do agree with you, however, that the breakup of the USSR has resulted in much deeper brackets today. Makes things very tough. But on your point about film, was anyone more heavily scouted than John at the time? He competed for years at Worlds, the Olympics, the World Cup, Pan Ams, exhibition matches, etc. The USSR had a ton of film on him, scoured their "Union", and still couldn't find someone to beat him under the bright lights.

    And finally...John's 1992 Olympic final...gold #6 at age 26, just a few days shy of his 27th birthday. The GOAT.

     
    osu2082 likes this.
  23. OkieSpladle

    OkieSpladle Redshirt
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    57
    I didn't intend to suggest all those things are in favor of one era over the other. Certainly, Smith was one of if not the most scouted wrestler in the world for most of his run and had to deal with opponents who he and the coaches might have never seen before. That doesn't happen now. It is a point in favor of John, no question. The Soviet era versus now thing is hard to quantify. It makes the fields deeper, but the best guy isn't necessarily better because of it (it is possible that now and then a guy who would have been the back-up is in better form by the tournament). Point in favor of the post-Soviet era, but how big that point is is debatable.

    As to the Reinoso match in general, of course you wrestle under the rules you have. There is no asterisk next to that gold medal. I was simply pointing out that had Snyder won and ultimately gone 6 for 6, that is something that could have been pointed do as a differentiator. Kyle lost so we don't have to cross that bridge. Had Burroughs won that would have been an interesting debate too. To me, 6 straight beats 6 total with a bronze and a DNP mixed in, but some disagree. Bruce Baumgartner's resume is insane and Dan Gable's peak was incredible, if very short. How could you possible compare the two?

    I always struggle with these debates because there is no definitive answer and too often I think some fans don't appreciate what is in front of them because they're too busy saying, well, they aren't as great as X guy from the past (not necessarily what is going on here...it is impossible to discern tone precisely on a message board)! Of course, that doesn't stop anyone from debating it, nor should it.
     
  24. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    Hopefully my tone isn't coming across as argumentative. I just enjoy a good sports debate. Doesn't even have to be about wrestling. And I try not to remain steadfast in my opinions when someone raises good points.

    The hard part (fun part for me) is trying to come up with objective criteria to determine the greatest. With wrestling it starts with results at the Olympics and Worlds. They are the pinnacle of the sport and everyone peaks for them. JB is fantastic and a great ambassador for wrestling and the USA. But if he had won a 6th gold, I wouldn't have placed his record above John's 6 for 6. Same with Gable, I would have to put him above Bruce (without looking more closely at their careers). Maybe that's a simplistic view, but to me perfection matters. Then you can look at things like dominance, career wins and losses, strength of competition, winning streaks, etc.

    Anyway...good discussion.
     
  25. OHkie

    OHkie Recruit
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2018
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    10
    Another part of this Askren brought up on the Rudis podcast is the difference of 6 weights vs 10 and if it’s harder now because of only 6 weights at the Olympics, less diluted. It was an interesting conversation and brought up some points I hadn’t thought about. They specifically talked about John, Jordan, and Kyle
     
  26. OkieSpladle

    OkieSpladle Redshirt
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    57
    Agreed, good discussion and OHkie also makes a good point about the number of weight classes which has been another variable in the modern era in particular.

    The Gable/Baumgartner thing is impossible which is why I used it. Gable was perfect, but for 2 years. There have been several wrestlers over the years that won 2 in a row, then lost later (Snyder and Burroughs, for example). How long he would have gone before losing is anyone's guess. Comparing someone like that to 5 golds, 4 silvers, and 4 bronzes just doesn't work. Luckily, going forward I doubt we see guys retiring early like they used to unless there is an injury involved.
     
  27. osu2082

    osu2082 Heisman Winner
    Gold Member
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    17,396
    Likes Received:
    16,797
    Another factor that greatly benifits the wrestlers of today is the fully finder RTCs and their ability to make a living being professionally wrestlers essentially.

    No other job or major coaching duties. They are provided the best of the best year round in terms of training facilities, partners, nutrition and sports medicine and are fully financially supported to totalt devote themselves towards their goals.
     
    Air_Thurman likes this.
  28. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    A lot of good points being made about some of the differences between today and years past.

    The Gable vs Baumgartner thing is super tough. To be fair, there should probably be a minimum # of competition years. 2 really isn't enough, so maybe 3?

    Baumgartner had an amazing run with remarkable consistency and longevity. But there are a couple of things that might work against him. First, he "only" won 2 in a row once in his 15 years, so there was no "dominant stretch" of being the best in the world. And second, he apparently didn't medal in 1982 and 1991 (finished 7th both years). Still, a fantastic career and obviously one of the best ever.
     
  29. osukev1988

    osukev1988 Commitment
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    40
    I love this debate and will only add that it amazes me that Uetake never gets mentioned in this discussion.
     
    BanjoSaysWoof and Wrassler17 like this.
  30. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    Uetake was another great one. Is he the answer to a different question maybe? The greatest wrestler while in college?

    This discussion has been about the greatest freestyle wrestler ever. John went 6 for 6. And Saitiev won 9 gold medals, including 3 Olympics (he lost in 2000 to Brandon Slay). I believe Uetake "only" won 2 golds, the 1964 & 1968 Olympics. But the first was during his undefeated college career.

    So...?
    greatest freestyle wrestler - John
    greatest wrestler while in college - Uetake

    Uetake article from a few years ago...
    https://newsok.com/article/5436753/...ves-in-japan-but-his-heart-lies-in-stillwater
     
  31. Wrassler17

    Wrassler17 Starter
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    640
    Cool story...

     
  32. James P. Whitters III

    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    26
    I was too young ( 5 when he won gold) to have judged Gable or anyone pre dating his dominance, but in my viewing lifetime John Smith is the greatest wrestler these eyes have ever seen. Cat like quickness and balance,amazing flexibility, and skills that had not been seen. The low single combined with the lightning quick high crotch to a crack down were unstoppable for mortal men. I don't believe I would ever tire of watching the legend wrestle. I show our youth kids video of Smith constantly and every kid watches the "How low can you go" instructional at some point. John Smith is the GOAT!
     
    Wrassler17 likes this.

Share This Page