By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling
The Final X Series, which will feature events in three cities in June and determine the 2018 U.S. senior world team in men’s and women’s freestyle wrestling, will provide an additional major benefit to the wrestling community beyond an exciting new way to promote the top wrestling stars in the nation.
This partnership between USA Wrestling and FloWrestling will provide as much as $114,000 in additional direct prize money payments to the athletes, which will include wrestlers in all three Olympic disciplines: Greco-Roman, men’s freestyle, and women’s freestyle.
This new prize money is in addition to previously budgeted funding to athletes, including national team stipends, competition bonuses, and Living the Dream Medal Fund bonuses.
This increase in athlete funding is possible due to FloWrestling’s extensive investment in the Final X Series program, as well as revenue generated through the events.
The 2018 U.S. Greco-Roman world team will be decided through a different process, which will conclude at the Greco-Roman World Team Trials in Tulsa, OK, on June 21-22. This format provides an opportunity for more athletes to compete at the Final Trials event and allow athletes who also compete in freestyle to try out for the Greco-Roman team.
Although Greco-Roman is not featured in the three Final X Series events, the finalists in all 10 Greco-Roman weight classes at the World Team Trials in Tulsa will receive the same prize money structure available to the other styles. The additional direct prize money payments to athletes will be broken down in the following way:
- $7,500 to 2017 world champions who make the 2018 U.S. world team
- $4,000 to 2017 world silver or bronze medalists who make the 2018 world team
- $2,500 to 2018 world team members who did not medal at the 2017 World Championships
- $500 to each runner-up in the Final X Series or the Greco-Roman World Team Trials
“We are excited to announce that our top two athletes in each of the respective styles will be receiving an additional bonus this year," said Cody Bickley, USA Wrestling’s national teams high performance manager. "This is new money that will go directly to the athletes and is a direct result of our partnership with FloWrestling as it pertains to Final X. We feel we’ve created a structure that will continue to reward athletes that are finding success on the highest stage.
"We’re anxious to see how the new World Team Trials format is received by our fans, athletes and coaches. Having the ability to promote the top two athletes for weeks leading up to their final two-of-three series for the world team spot is exciting. We expect that our World Team Trials process in all styles will put the athletes in the best possible position to find success in at the Worlds in Budapest, Hungary, in October."
All three Final X Series events will be broadcast by FloWrestling, as well as the Greco-Roman World Team Trials. The dates of the Final X Series events are June 9, June 16, and June 23, in three different cities to be announced.
In addition, FloWrestling will broadcast the other major events of the U.S. domestic wrestling season, including the U.S. Open in Las Vegas on April 26-28 and the Freestyle World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in Rochester, MN, on May 18-20.