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FLOWRESTLING'S BLACK AND GOLD: IOWA VS THE WORLD AND IOWA'S NEWFOUND FREESTYLE SUCCESS

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A few thoughts on Flowrestling's great new documentary and Iowa's recent freestyle success.

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Flowrestling put together an excellent documentary chronicling the preparation that Tony Ramos and Brent Metcalf have been doing for next month's FILA World Championships in Uzbekistan.  This is the trailer for that documentary and you can find the full doc here, although it does require a subscription to FloPro ($$$).  Cost aside*, it's an excellent documentary and spotlight on two of our favorite Iowa wrestlers of the last five years.  Tom Brands is almost always a tremendous interview and that's certainly the case here, where he offers some good insight about both guys.  Ramos is also entertaining; it's hard to think of another Iowa athlete in the last 5-10 years with more confidence or swagger than Tony.  Metcalf is less obviously entertaining than Brands or Ramos, but his focus and hunger makes for pretty absorbing viewing, too.

Also: it features Iowa wrestlers playing wiffle ball and if that's not fun, I don't know what is.

* And while $20 is indeed a bit hefty, it gets you access to their entire archive, which includes another documentary series about Tony Ramos, as well as hundreds upon hundreds of excellent wrestling matches.  And, no, I don't make a dime from flo.

Metcalf and Ramos were two of the most entertaining -- and successful -- wrestlers to wear black and gold and it's enormously gratifying to see them having success at the next level and on the international stage.  There's no NFL or NBA equivalent for wrestlers after college; if you want to keep competing in wrestling, you compete in freestyle or Greco-Roman competition against (primarily) international opponents.

Iowa's already had two wrestlers (one current and one former) win medals this summer -- Matt McDonough won a bronze medal at the World University Games last month and Thomas Gilman earned a bronze medal at the FILA Junior World Championships last weekend.  Metcalf and Ramos could bring that medal count to four, which would be a truly remarkable haul for one summer of competition and an excellent reflection on the work being done by the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

A strong Hawkeye Wrestling Club is nothing but a good thing for the actual Iowa wrestling team, too.  Strength tends to attract strength in wrestling; wrestlers want to compete with the best and Iowa can honestly pitch recruits that if they come to Iowa they'll be able to train with some of the best light weight wrestlers in the world (as well as one of the best middle weight wrestlers, too).  They can also sell them on the notion that going to Iowa is a great place to go if you want to compete for World and Olympic medals after college, which was something that was also true of Iowa during Gable's heyday.  Iowa's success on the international stage had been on the wane for a while, but now that seems to be changing.

The freestyle rule changes have certainly benefited Iowa wrestlers (particularly Metcalf), since they put emphasis on some of the skills Iowa wrestlers tend to value (like aggressive offense, an attacking mindset, and conditioning), but it also seems like Iowa may have just a group of wrestlers lately that are more suited to freestyle competition -- and more driven to succeed in that style, too.  Either way, it's been a lot of fun to watch Iowa wrestlers (past and present) enjoy so much success in freestyle -- long may it continue.