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Olympic Games Expectations Vs Reality

Olympic Games Expectations Vs Reality

An analysis of the wrestling powers and who over or under-performed their Olympic expectations.

Aug 8, 2021 by Andrew Spey
Olympic Games Expectations Vs Reality
What an insane Olympic Games.

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What an insane Olympic Games.

As an American (as 95% of you are, at least according to Google Analytics), the Tokyo Games was the most successful games in my cognizant lifetime. You have to go back to 1984, when the Soviet Bloc boycotted, to find an Olympics where Team USA scored as successful a haul in the sport of wrestling as we did inside Makuhari Messe Hall. 

Here are all the results if you want to remind yourself of how awesome the last week of wrestling was. I don't know where you can find replays of the matches, though. Try YouTube maybe? 

Anyway, I felt the same magical rush of pride as you did watching so many Americans win medals. Afterward, being the nerd that I am, I wanted to quantify those results. Just why did Tokyo feel so much better than the last decade or so of watching Team USA men's freestyle wrestling?

So I went back and added up all the points all the major wrestling countries scored at the last six World Championships and Olympic Games (in Olympic weights only) and compared that to how those countries did at the Tokyo Games.

The fruits of those labors can be found directly below.


It should also be noted that I only factored in points from wrestlers that finished in the top 5. That's all the data I had available, and it gets us what we need to know. Apologies to the wrestlers that finished 6th through 10th.

Anyhow, the Russians won, again. Or, excuse me, the athletes from the Russian Olympic Committee won. But they barely eked out a victory over the USA, which outperformed their historical average by more than any other federation of note. 

India was also a big overperformer, thanks to medals from Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar plus a fifth-place finish from Deepak Punia

Georgia and Turkey had disappointing results. The only medals for either country came at heavyweight. Taha Akgul scored a bronze for Tukey and Geno Petriashvili took a silver for Georgia. 

Iran also had a rough go, although they did secure two medals, with a silver from Hassan Yazdani and a bronze from the young Amir Zare

But what stands out most is the Americans. Thomas Gilman with a bronze; Kyle Dake with one as well. Kyle Snyder fell just short of a second legendary team title securing win, and then, of course, our cardiac kids, David Taylor and Gable Steveson with golds. 

Truly, an Olympic Games to remember. And just three short years until Paris!