U.S. Olympic Team Trials Predictions


Allen Catour, Writer

With the cancelation of the 2020 Summer Olympics, things have been postponed and moved around. The Olympics will be from July 23- August 8, 2021. For wrestling, this means that the Olympic Team Trials are now going to be taking place next year, probably in early April again.

With over a year of waiting, I’d like to take this time to make some early predictions of who I think will represent the United States in Tokyo next summer.

57kg- This weight class is one of the deepest when it comes to talent. You have 2017 world silver medalist Thomas Gilman, 2019 World Team Member Daton Fix, 3x Cadet and Junior World Champion Spencer Lee, and guys like Seth Gross, Nathan Tomasello, and Nick Suriano. Lee showed how dominant he was by easily winning Senior Nationals in a bracket that included six NCAA champs. Gilman, also from Iowa, has always been tough to beat. Fix has shown that he can beat Gilman in their Final X matches last year. Lee has been so impressive in my eyes lately that I’m going to go with him as my prediction. Lee likes to put points up on the board, and he’s shown he can contend with the best.
Winner- Spencer Lee

65kg- This is another weight that features a lot of high-level wrestlers. 2019 World Team Member Zain Retherford, 2019 Bill Farrell champion Jordan Oliver, 2x NCAA champion Yianni Diakomihalis, and others like Joey McKenna and Nick Lee are all in this weight. Oliver has been on a tear recently as he dominated his way through Senior Nationals. Retherford and Diakomihalis have a long rivalry filled with controversy. In the end, I see Yianni winning this bracket. He’s hasn’t been on a hot streak as of late, but I think he’ll be ready when it matters most.
Winner- Yianni Diakomihalis

74kg- Jordan Burroughs has been the king of this weight class for years. No one has been able to beat him. However, Kyle Dake is dropping down a weight class from 79kg, where he was a 2x World champion to challenge Burroughs for the spot. These two have wrestled a lot in the past, with Burroughs always getting the best of Dake. This version of Dake, though, is on a different level. He’s been dominating everyone so far. I expect this potential matchup to be different than it has in years past. I believe Dake will be able to dethrone Burroughs and claim the spot.
Winner- Kyle Dake

86kg- Pat Downey was the 2019 World Team member, but I don’t see him qualifying for the Olympics. He’ll have to go through 2018 World champion David Taylor, who just recently returned from an injury. Alex Dieringer, Zahid Valencia, and Myles Martin are also all tough opponents who could prevent Downey from the spot. Taylor’s injury last year prevented him from wrestling, but he looked sharp in his recent tournament back. Taylor is my pick to win, but don’t sleep on the other wrestlers.
Winner- David Taylor

97kg- J’den Cox, a 2x World champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, announced he would be moving up a weight class from 92kg. This move sets up a tremendous potential matchup against Kyle Snyder. Snyder, a 2x World champ and 2016 Olympic champion, and Cox have never wrestled before. The two are some of the best wrestlers in the world right now, but only one can represent the U.S. at the Olympics. My pick here is with Cox. He didn’t give up a single point at last year’s World Championships, and he’s been on a roll. Snyder won’t go down without a fight, so I’m ready to see this matchup.
Winner- J’den Cox

Only one wrestler from each weight class qualifies for the Olympics, so you must win your weight class to wrestle in Tokyo. There’s a lot of talent and tough wrestlers in each weight class, so I’m anxious to see how everything plays out. It’s likely been a dream for each wrestler to wrestle at the Olympics. Now that opportunity is only a year away. My predictions may be wrong, but it’s still fun to think about who you think will win.