USA Men's Freestyle GOAT Poll

Who is the Men's Freestyle GOAT


  • Total voters
    90
  • Poll closed .

MPhillips

Well-known member
Watched this several years ago, but if you have Netflix and haven't seen it, it's pretty eye opening. ✌️

 

OCEagle

Well-known member
Longevity when longevity wasn't as easy as it has become.

Like someone mentioned in the other thread, They are all the GOATS of their era... JB does have an opportunity to collect the most medals though.
I remember when you posted that before, but I wasn't sure if you were referring to the money side or the ability to treat injuries more effectively better understanding of nutritional needs with supplements - or all.
 

bdhof

Well-known member
Watched this several years ago, but if you have Netflix and haven't seen it, it's pretty eye opening. ✌️

Watched it a few years ago. RUS doping plan is to create ways to not get caught.
 

pinem07

Active member
Snyder could still get in the discussion if he stays healthy. He's only 26 (turns 27 in 2 months). The big caveat for him is Sadulaev - one of the best wrestlers in history from any country. They are not onny in the same weight class, but are also the same age. That will make it tough for Snyder to get more gold. His 2 silvers were the result of losing to Sadulaev. He has only lost to one other wrestler in World Championships. He is also the youngest to ever to win a World championship in US history at the age of 19. Unless Sadulaev is found to have used PEDs and has to forfeit his recent wins over Snyder, it's not looking good for him to bypass the top three listed.
Snyder could definitely enter the conversation by the end of his career. I would question if Sadulaev is the same age as him. I know on paper they are but Russians are known for changing their ages and I believe there is evidence that he is older than what is on paper. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Sadulaev was done after 2024.
 

bdhof

Well-known member
Snyder could definitely enter the conversation by the end of his career. I would question if Sadulaev is the same age as him. I know on paper they are but Russians are known for changing their ages and I believe there is evidence that he is older than what is on paper. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Sadulaev was done after 2024.
Snyder & Sad will continue to be a battle. Even if Sad sticks around (I believe he will), injuries happen, RUS suspensions happen, upsets happen. And typically RUS sits some of their OLY athletes the Worlds following the OLY. So, give Snyder a few more Golds and he could be the next GOAT. Altho, I think JB adds a few more pieces to his collection, hopefully including a few more Golds. The reason why I think he sticks around is that he wants to be the World GOAT.

And don't count out Dake and Taylor. I think they're both 31, so not that far behind JB in age. But both could gather 3 or 4 more Golds before they're thru (Dake w/ 4 now and Taylor w/ 3). If Dake totals 7 or 8 he'd have a pretty good resume - took out GOAT in 2020 OLY trials (& 2024?), 8 (maybe) Golds in 9 years. And Taylor is just a step away from Dake. He also could have a great resume - owned Yaz, one of the World's best, 8 (maybe) Golds in 9 years of competition, 2 OLY Golds.
 

yankeescap

Active member
After Worlds, I changed my opinion on the GOAT from John Smith to JB. I guess it was the 7th Gold, but I also feel JB coming back after losing the 74 spot and still competing is something I admire (not sure if that adds to his greatness, but the desire to be the best was still evident).

This is all subjective, but beating 2 future World champs consistently over an extended period of time impresses me the most. Having a head start on his FS career is moot, to me at least. Dake and DT had plenty of FS experience and the transition did not hinder them against other competitors. JB was just better than them for a long time.

No wrong answer here. JB and Bruce racked up the medals over a long period and Smith was practically perfect in his FS career, so it's a matter of taste really.
 

yankeescap

Active member
Many people would say that it is harder now because of the several former USSR countries being represented on the world stage. The addition of Russian transfers to other countries, not just former USSR countries, makes the field much deeper as well.

For the "asterisk" for 1984 I have changed my view on that. Bruce won that year. Would the Russian have beat him? Who knows. If you wanted to put an asterisk on that year then you would have to do the same with this years world championships. They beat who was in front of them. They had no control of. No asterisk, they're the world/olympic champ that year.
Maybe I am in the minority here, but I certainly feel somewhat incomplete about '84 and this year... Russia not competing this year most definitely benefited the US and other countries. Snyder, Gilman and Dake's weights had massive voids. I love the success we had, but the Russian absence leaves some unknown.
 

MPhillips

Well-known member
Maybe I am in the minority here, but I certainly feel somewhat incomplete about '84 and this year... Russia not competing this year most definitely benefited the US and other countries. Snyder, Gilman and Dake's weights had massive voids. I love the success we had, but the Russian absence leaves some unknown.
I don't disagree in theory, but there were Russians at this World tourney, not sure about '84?'
 

MPhillips

Well-known member
Not sure what relevance this holds in a GOAT discussion, but I found it informative none the less. (y)

From Gary Abbott:
Aug. 2019

John Smith only lost eight bouts in his entire Senior freestyle career - Only eight losses ever? I would name them all, but there were two losses that Smith had in the Soviet Union way early in his career where the records are incomplete. So here are the other six losses. While still an undergrad in college, Smith lost to Larry Nugent in the Hall of Fame Classic. During the 1988 Olympic process, Smith lost once to 1984 Olympic champion Randy Lewis, but came back to beat Lewis for the team spot. Stepan Sarkissian of the USSR, who Smith beat in the 1988 Olympic finals, snuck in a win over Smith a few years later. In the first match of the 1992 Olympic Trials finals series in Pittsburgh, super talented John Fisher beat Smith, but Smith rebounded to win the next two bouts to make the team. The only man to beat Smith twice was Cuban star Lazaro Reinoso, who beat Smith in an event in Cuba, then beat him in the pool round robin at the 1992 Olympics. Smith won that round robin then claimed the Olympic gold medal, while Reinoso finished third.
 

MitSulHer

Well-known member
Not sure what relevance this holds in a GOAT discussion, but I found it informative none the less. (y)

From Gary Abbott:
Aug. 2019

John Smith only lost eight bouts in his entire Senior freestyle career - Only eight losses ever? I would name them all, but there were two losses that Smith had in the Soviet Union way early in his career where the records are incomplete. So here are the other six losses. While still an undergrad in college, Smith lost to Larry Nugent in the Hall of Fame Classic. During the 1988 Olympic process, Smith lost once to 1984 Olympic champion Randy Lewis, but came back to beat Lewis for the team spot. Stepan Sarkissian of the USSR, who Smith beat in the 1988 Olympic finals, snuck in a win over Smith a few years later. In the first match of the 1992 Olympic Trials finals series in Pittsburgh, super talented John Fisher beat Smith, but Smith rebounded to win the next two bouts to make the team. The only man to beat Smith twice was Cuban star Lazaro Reinoso, who beat Smith in an event in Cuba, then beat him in the pool round robin at the 1992 Olympics. Smith won that round robin then claimed the Olympic gold medal, while Reinoso finished third.
Good stuff.
I could be wrong but wasn't Jim Jordan the last person to beat John Smith in college?NCAA 1985.png

Jordan would win in 1986 as well. No Smith. But John Smith would come back and win in 1987.
 

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nooks

Well-known member
Snyder & Sad will continue to be a battle. Even if Sad sticks around (I believe he will), injuries happen, RUS suspensions happen, upsets happen. And typically RUS sits some of their OLY athletes the Worlds following the OLY. So, give Snyder a few more Golds and he could be the next GOAT. Altho, I think JB adds a few more pieces to his collection, hopefully including a few more Golds. The reason why I think he sticks around is that he wants to be the World GOAT.

And don't count out Dake and Taylor. I think they're both 31, so not that far behind JB in age. But both could gather 3 or 4 more Golds before they're thru (Dake w/ 4 now and Taylor w/ 3). If Dake totals 7 or 8 he'd have a pretty good resume - took out GOAT in 2020 OLY trials (& 2024?), 8 (maybe) Golds in 9 years. And Taylor is just a step away from Dake. He also could have a great resume - owned Yaz, one of the World's best, 8 (maybe) Golds in 9 years of competition, 2 OLY Golds.
I hope I'm wrong, but I'm just not sure that Dake & Taylor will be able to "keep the fire" as hot going forward. I can't put my finger on it, but I got the sense that 25 years of "burning passion" for the sport, with everything now accomplished, might finally be starting to cool. At some point, we all know that "life" starts taking other turns. Hope I'm wrong. We'll see.
 

MitSulHer

Well-known member
I hope I'm wrong, but I'm just not sure that Dake & Taylor will be able to "keep the fire" as hot going forward. I can't put my finger on it, but I got the sense that 25 years of "burning passion" for the sport, with everything now accomplished, might finally be starting to cool. At some point, we all know that "life" starts taking other turns. Hope I'm wrong. We'll see.
I don't know .................if Tom Brady can walk away from Gisele Bündchen to play football anything is possible.
 

MPhillips

Well-known member
Mainly speaking of Uguev, Sidakov and Sadulaev on the Russian National Team who were probably the favorite at their weights.
Oh I understand, but there were Russian wrestlers competing last week. Were there Russian wrestlers competing in '84'?
 

Cramer

Active member
Not sure what relevance this holds in a GOAT discussion, but I found it informative none the less. (y)

From Gary Abbott:
Aug. 2019

John Smith only lost eight bouts in his entire Senior freestyle career - Only eight losses ever? I would name them all, but there were two losses that Smith had in the Soviet Union way early in his career where the records are incomplete. So here are the other six losses. While still an undergrad in college, Smith lost to Larry Nugent in the Hall of Fame Classic. During the 1988 Olympic process, Smith lost once to 1984 Olympic champion Randy Lewis, but came back to beat Lewis for the team spot. Stepan Sarkissian of the USSR, who Smith beat in the 1988 Olympic finals, snuck in a win over Smith a few years later. In the first match of the 1992 Olympic Trials finals series in Pittsburgh, super talented John Fisher beat Smith, but Smith rebounded to win the next two bouts to make the team. The only man to beat Smith twice was Cuban star Lazaro Reinoso, who beat Smith in an event in Cuba, then beat him in the pool round robin at the 1992 Olympics. Smith won that round robin then claimed the Olympic gold medal, while Reinoso finished third.
Thank you! I knew Smith had a loss at the Olympics in the pool but couldn't remember which one without going back.
 

MPhillips

Well-known member
Again, some informative info I found elsewhere. Relevance is undetermined, by me anyway.

JB started with a 70-match win streak from April of 2011 through February 2014, when he dropped one 4-4 on criteria to Nick Marable at the Yasar Dogu. He won his next 22 matches before falling to Tsargush of Russia 9-2 at the 2014 World Championships in September. He won 39 over the next 11 months more before falling to Geduev 3-2 in the 2016 Olympics; Then he didn't recover and got rolled by Bekzod Abdurakhmonov 11-1 in repechage; Yazdani of Iran debuted at 74 winning that Olympic bracket. So, yeah, he had 4 losses in his first 6 years, and three of them when it counted.

Excluding JB's 2007 University Nationals silver, where he lost in the finals to Teyon Ware 1-1, 0-1 as a college sophomore, JB's Senior Freestyle record is 218 - 14.

Of those 14 losses, 6 have been even scores decided on criteria, and 5 have been decided by a single point. The three decisive losses include the 9-2 loss to Tsargush, the 11-1 repechage loss to Bekzod on that bad day in Rio, and the 3-0 loss to Dake at 2020(1) OTT finals.

JB also has 7 wins over 5x medalist (4Gold) Dake to 3 losses.

JB was 2-1 vs 4-time medalist (3Gold) Tsargush.

He's 3-1 vs 3xBronze medalist Bekzod.

He was 2-1 vs 2x medalist Geduev.

He's 3-2 vs 5x medalist (2Gold) Chamizo.

0-2 vs 3x Champ Sidakov.

JB is also 4-1 over 4x medalist (3 Gold) David Taylor.

JB's only losses to non-medalists have been on even-score criteria to domestic foes Marable, Martinez, and Marsteller.

(this is all gleaned from JB's record listed on wikipedia)
 

Old142

Active member
Again, some informative info I found elsewhere. Relevance is undetermined, by me anyway.

JB started with a 70-match win streak from April of 2011 through February 2014, when he dropped one 4-4 on criteria to Nick Marable at the Yasar Dogu. He won his next 22 matches before falling to Tsargush of Russia 9-2 at the 2014 World Championships in September. He won 39 over the next 11 months more before falling to Geduev 3-2 in the 2016 Olympics; Then he didn't recover and got rolled by Bekzod Abdurakhmonov 11-1 in repechage; Yazdani of Iran debuted at 74 winning that Olympic bracket. So, yeah, he had 4 losses in his first 6 years, and three of them when it counted.

Excluding JB's 2007 University Nationals silver, where he lost in the finals to Teyon Ware 1-1, 0-1 as a college sophomore, JB's Senior Freestyle record is 218 - 14.

Of those 14 losses, 6 have been even scores decided on criteria, and 5 have been decided by a single point. The three decisive losses include the 9-2 loss to Tsargush, the 11-1 repechage loss to Bekzod on that bad day in Rio, and the 3-0 loss to Dake at 2020(1) OTT finals.

JB also has 7 wins over 5x medalist (4Gold) Dake to 3 losses.

JB was 2-1 vs 4-time medalist (3Gold) Tsargush.

He's 3-1 vs 3xBronze medalist Bekzod.

He was 2-1 vs 2x medalist Geduev.

He's 3-2 vs 5x medalist (2Gold) Chamizo.

0-2 vs 3x Champ Sidakov.

JB is also 4-1 over 4x medalist (3 Gold) David Taylor.

JB's only losses to non-medalists have been on even-score criteria to domestic foes Marable, Martinez, and Marsteller.

(this is all gleaned from JB's record listed on wikipedia)
Being JB was already full time FS 2 to 3 years before DT and KD, his record of 7-3 against Dake and 4-1 over Taylor doesn't mean much in the here and now. Dake owned him 0-2 and Bar-B-Q at the trials, and Taylor was dominating him until he pretty much coasted. If he wrestled them both 10 times now I'd doubt he's win more than 4 out of 20. Burroughs is chasing Medal counts ( Baumgartner 13) it just might be Dake and Taylor have reached their goals and ready to move on, if they stay motivated no way Burroughs is ever winning another series against either. They both have too much offense and experience at the "unstoppable" double they both stopped. Dake showed zero intimidation by the "clubs" Jordan always tries to intimidate with.
 

MPhillips

Well-known member
Being JB was already full time FS 2 to 3 years before DT and KD, his record of 7-3 against Dake and 4-1 over Taylor doesn't mean much in the here and now. Dake owned him 0-2 and Bar-B-Q at the trials, and Taylor was dominating him until he pretty much coasted. If he wrestled them both 10 times now I'd doubt he's win more than 4 out of 20. Burroughs is chasing Medal counts ( Baumgartner 13) it just might be Dake and Taylor have reached their goals and ready to move on, if they stay motivated no way Burroughs is ever winning another series against either. They both have too much offense and experience at the "unstoppable" double they both stopped. Dake showed zero intimidation by the "clubs" Jordan always tries to intimidate with.
I'm not making a case for anyone brother. I just found some info I thought others would be interested in and whose relevance I can't determine.
Just presenting numbers and such. Fantasy matches are what they are.
I chose Bruce. You chose Smith. Others chose JB. All great choices and none that I would rally against.
 

OCEagle

Well-known member
Not sure what relevance this holds in a GOAT discussion, but I found it informative none the less. (y)

From Gary Abbott:
Aug. 2019

Smith lost once to 1984 Olympic champion Randy Lewis, but came back to beat Lewis for the team spot. Stepan Sarkissian of the USSR, who Smith beat in the 1988 Olympic finals...
You are correct.

Smith won the gold in 1988 without losing a match. This was a pool competition with Smith winning pool A by scores of 11-4, 6-3, 4-2,16-6, TF, and 12-7. Sarkisyan won pool B by scores of 16-0, 13-0, 13-1, 7-2, 8-1, and 12-1 As you noted, Smith beat Sarkisyan 3-0 in the Gold Medal final and went 7-0.

Smith did lose a match in 1992, but came back to win the gold. The loss was in the final round (round 5) of pool competition to the Cuban (Reinoso) by a 3-1 score. They both went 4-1 in pool competition, as did the Russian (Azizov - actually it was the "Unified Team") Smith won the pool with 31 technical points to 28 for both Reinoso and Azizov. He then won the Gold Medal match 6-0 vs. the Iranian Mohammadian who went 5-0 in his pool. Azizov bailed Smith out by beating the Cuban 11-6 in the first round of pool competition. And Smith beat Azizov 17-1 in the 4th round. So just a bad match for Smith vs. the Cuban?

I bought the NBC "Triple-Cast" back in 1992 for $125. One of the three channels was devoted almost entirely to wrestling and boxing. I believe I still have every match that was telecast on some VCR tapes in my basement. Doubt the tape is any good at this point. Might pull one out and see if if will play.
 

yankeescap

Active member
Being JB was already full time FS 2 to 3 years before DT and KD, his record of 7-3 against Dake and 4-1 over Taylor doesn't mean much in the here and now. Dake owned him 0-2 and Bar-B-Q at the trials, and Taylor was dominating him until he pretty much coasted. If he wrestled them both 10 times now I'd doubt he's win more than 4 out of 20. Burroughs is chasing Medal counts ( Baumgartner 13) it just might be Dake and Taylor have reached their goals and ready to move on, if they stay motivated no way Burroughs is ever winning another series against either. They both have too much offense and experience at the "unstoppable" double they both stopped. Dake showed zero intimidation by the "clubs" Jordan always tries to intimidate with.
Of course it means nothing because it goes against what you think lol... JB is past his prime, where he beat Dake and DT regularly, no one is arguing that. JB singlehandedly cause DT to go up a weight permanently and Dake trying his luck there and eventually coming back down when it was his time after multiple failed attempts to take the spot... These elite guys transition from folk to FS rather quickly. Sorry but that is an excuse not a "tangible."
 

nooks

Well-known member
I'm not making a case for anyone brother. I just found some info I thought others would be interested in and whose relevance I can't determine.
Just presenting numbers and such. Fantasy matches are what they are.
I chose Bruce. You chose Smith. Others chose JB. All great choices and none that I would rally against.
I'm still choosing Gable...You can rally against me if you want LOL...:)
 

OCEagle

Well-known member
Oh I understand, but there were Russian wrestlers competing last week. Were there Russian wrestlers competing in '84'?
To be clear, it was the USSR that boycotted in 1984. The USSR included a lot more countries within the USSR than Russia. Along with the USSR, Cuba, East Germany, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia all boycotted the 1984 Olympics. Iran also withdrew 1984 - but it was unrelated to the communist boycott. The boycott was largely as a response to the US (along with China and S. Korea) boycotting the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. The 1980 boycott was over Russia invading Afghanistan - not too different for why they were banned in this year's World Championships - for invading Ukraine.

University of Toledo heavyweight wrestler Greg "Wojo" Wojciechowski was on that 1980 Olympic team after finishing as a runner up in the US trials in 1972 to Chris Taylor, and in 1976 to Russ Hellickson. He was also a runner up Greco in 1968 (the year he graduated from HS), 1972, and 1976. He finally makes the Olympic team dropping from heavyweight to 100kg, then they boycott. Lee Kemp was also denied his best shot at gold that year. He never wrestled in an Olympic games either.
 

nooks

Well-known member
To be clear, it was the USSR that boycotted in 1984. The USSR included a lot more countries within the USSR than Russia. Along with the USSR, Cuba, East Germany, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia all boycotted the 1984 Olympics. Iran also withdrew 1984 - but it was unrelated to the communist boycott. The boycott was largely as a response to the US (along with China and S. Korea) boycotting the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. The 1980 boycott was over Russia invading Afghanistan - not too different for why they were banned in this year's World Championships - for invading Ukraine.

University of Toledo heavyweight wrestler Greg "Wojo" Wojciechowski was on that 1980 Olympic team after finishing as a runner up in the US trials in 1972 to Chris Taylor, and in 1976 to Russ Hellickson. He was also a runner up Greco in 1968 (the year he graduated from HS), 1972, and 1976. He finally makes the Olympic team dropping from heavyweight to 100kg, then they boycott. Lee Kemp was also denied his best shot at gold that year. He never wrestled in an Olympic games either.
Thank God our wonderful government has never done anything so heinous as invade or bomb into submission a poor pipsqueak puppet country. Oh wait...??? Well at least our athletes weren't at fault for it...Oh wait, neither were theirs... But if we punish their athletes, that'll show 'em by golly...I know you weren't intending to be political, but I couldn't ignore the hypocrisy.
Back on point, there are many who say that a good argument can be made that the 1980 US Olympic team was the best US team ever. You had former world champions Lee Kemp and Ben Peterson, 1981 World champ Chris Campbell, World silver medalists' Bobby Weaver and Russ Hellickson and a unabashed Randy Lewis who has said he was better in '80 than he was in '84. Personally, I think this years' team was as good as any and probably better than any we've ever fielded. But then again nobody back then kept competing into their 30's. Wojo most certainly would've medaled. What a shame....
 

Old142

Active member
Of course it means nothing because it goes against what you think lol... JB is past his prime, where he beat Dake and DT regularly, no one is arguing that. JB singlehandedly cause DT to go up a weight permanently and Dake trying his luck there and eventually coming back down when it was his time after multiple failed attempts to take the spot... These elite guys transition from folk to FS rather quickly. Sorry but that is an excuse not a "tangible."
I get your take..BUT Do you really think DT was in a position to stay at 74 KG? Come on lol. He was maturing and growing later than most, certainly more so than Burroughs. As for Dake, not having 2 years jump of full time FS training matters whether you dismiss it or not. Burroughs defense is tough to get through.....Dake needed a few shots to figure that out while also maturing physically to handle JB's strength and clubbing(s not so hard to understand or believe. Burroughs just won a world title, he has said himself he's as good as he ever has been ...something changed in his recent 0-2 with Dake, it could just be Dake's gotten stronger and better since going FS full time 🤷‍♂️. Have I said I'm not a fan of JB'S boxing during a wrestling match to attempt to force respect and intimidation? JMO.
 

Old142

Active member
Thank God our wonderful government has never done anything so heinous as invade or bomb into submission a poor pipsqueak puppet country. Oh wait...??? Well at least our athletes weren't at fault for it...Oh wait, neither were theirs... But if we punish their athletes, that'll show 'em by golly...I know you weren't intending to be political, but I couldn't ignore the hypocrisy.
Back on point, there are many who say that a good argument can be made that the 1980 US Olympic team was the best US team ever. You had former world champions Lee Kemp and Ben Peterson, 1981 World champ Chris Campbell, World silver medalists' Bobby Weaver and Russ Hellickson and a unabashed Randy Lewis who has said he was better in '80 than he was in '84. Personally, I think this years' team was as good as any and probably better than any we've ever fielded. But then again nobody back then kept competing into their 30's. Wojo most certainly would've medaled. What a shame....
Can't compare era's really with much accuracy at all, different training..competition etc. For me it's much more difficult to excel in todays College wrestling or international style's for a variety of reasons. Which is part of the reason how can anyone with any definitive validity claim someone the "GOAT" ? Fun to chat about that part I understand, just like it's fun to chat about who is the best QB all time. As for Kemp ( I'm ready to be attacked for name dropping lol ) I trained with Lee at Shaw High school occasionally, what a story and an awesome individual, do I think he would have wound up in the finals in this era as a freshman against MANY guys wrestling at high levels since 6 years old? Possible I guess but for me VERY DOUBTFUL, while there were more programs in D1 ( over 200) there were very few guys who had more than a 8th-9th grade start in the sport, the "competition" is without a doubt tougher today. I'm a bit off topic SUE ME .....but in closing IMO this years world team may be the best all time to date.
 
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