Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Final thoughts on our 2008 Olympic Boxing Team.

Here is an article Alwyn Cosgrove and I co authored. Alwyn is extremely passionate about boxing too and we were fed up with all the excuses about the scoring system in Olympic boxing. Written is our wrath about what was really going on. Enjoy.

Don't blame the scoring, blame the system. Why our Olympic Boxing team continues to fail.

After another disappointing Olympics we hear the some old cry of.... The scoring system is just that bad. Really? Then why does Cuba continue to dominate? Look at a small country like Ireland who has 3 fighters in the semi finals who are guaranteed a medal. How can they do it? I'll tell you why, because they have mastered the scoring system and their training systems that prepare them for the Olympics are superior to ours.With 303 Million people, the richest country in the world, best training facilities, best coaches, you'd think that the preparation would be there. What I have seen in these Olympics is the US is not prepared....

The problem is - we all know the system sucks - the scoring sucks - the judging sucks. We KNOW this.

But it sucks for everyone. We KNOW it's going to suck - we know it's not "real" boxing - but Cuba and Ireland and Great Britain seem to figure this out and develop athletes, coaches and styles that can win. The USA has one medal. That's the same as India, Azerbijan, Turkey, Moldova and Mauritius btw. And less than Thailand or Ireland.

Yeah - it's a completely different sport. But it's been different since 92. We had the WORLD champion at this "different" sport and he was too busy looking at the crowd and seeing "what's up" with his FANS instead of listening to the national team coaches. What ? He didn't know how it works? He didn't know to look at his corner and see what the score was? No - he knows how it works..... we just sent a guy who "forgot".....

The US is too busy complaining about the SYSTEM and the JUDGING. Meanwhile the rest of the World gets it - adjusts their training, adjusts their styles and wins medals.

FIBA basketball is different from the NBA. Different system- different judging etc -- but the US basketball team adjust and overcome. The US boxing team is like a spoiled little girl whining that "it's not fair...."

Let's stop whining about Olympic boxing and just understand, adjust and dominate. We got three medals in Taekwondo btw. Looks like we understand that better than we understand boxing right now....

STOP BLAMING the system, the scoring, the judging, the system, the structure and the way Olympic boxing has changed and what it has turned into and start taking responsibility. We are not being ripped off. We are not being hard done to. We are failing in every respect to deliver the goods.

It may be a different sport compared to pro boxing - but we have to stop ignoring that and start embracing it. Adjust. Develop. And Produce athletes.

BMX is a new sport and we managed to understand the requirement and win two medals. But with Olympic boxing we still don't get it after 16 years in this new system.

Here is what's really beating us at the Olympics.

Communication. One of the dumbest things USA boxing does is appoint a head coach to the team that has no idea what truly makes the team tick. Ask anyone who has ever fought before what it's like to have a different coach work you're corner. It's not the same and it can build resentment like it did in this years team. What the hell good does that do, sending a team to the Olympics already beaten with inner turmoil!?

I don't give a shit how many months a fighter spends with the Olympic head coach before the Olympics. Try taking a child away from his caring parents and having another family care for them and see what happens. This model doesn't work!

Communication is everything in boxing. Even quasi boxing like Olympic boxing. If trust and the coaches respect aren't there in camp and leading into the Olympics, failure is certain as it was this year.

Training methods.

We had a fighter in Gary Russel Jr. who didn't make weight and was found unconscious in his room. It doesn't get more embarrassing than that! To have that happen is beyond ridiculous at this level. Russel should have been near weight upon the Olympics or shouldn't have been allowed to fight and the alternate could've taken his place. What good does it to have a weight drained, dehydrated depleted fighter compete against the best boxers in the world. Yes I didn't use fight this time as that's NOT what they do!

Before the Olympics there was bitching and moaning about the training methods Coach Campbell was using. Can all the BS stop please?! Do you think that happens with the Olympic Boxing machine Cuba? No, they get it, they get Olympic boxing. Quasi boxing or not, there's a lot of countries that understand how to better prepare for it.

A regimen ( boxing style ) must be followed that EVERYONE is on board with. Again, is it just the egos of other coaches who aren't in charge doing this or are the training methods that bad? Not too many amateur coaches understand how to properly condition a fighter or really train them in that matter, so it's the egos. Ego's aside lets get a quality conditioning coach in place and one that can prepare the team for the Olympic style of boxing.

United we stand my ass! Everyone is against one another and how do you think the fighters react to this?! There must be ONE trusted voice, a trusted conditioning/boxing system that must be followed and agreed with, that the fighters have faith in to succeed and medal.

Proper preparation.

I'm not a fan of Olympic slapping at all. I just can't call it boxing cause we all no it isn't However, the scoring system can't be blamed any longer. We know preparation for this style is the culprit. 1992 was a long time ago. We've had plenty of time to prepare for this style of quasi fighting. So can somebody step up and take responsibility please?

We have 4 more years to plan for the next Olympics. How can we better prepare for this style? How about more international experience? How about more camps with this style of boxing?

Look, it's not that hard to adapt. We all know what we are up against. The basic principles that make any great team great are being broken. It's not the scoring. It's our training systems, which leads me too....


Ok, so what are we going to do different before the next Olympics? Are we finally done with all the patch work and bullshit quick fixes? Can we learn from the Cubans, a small country like Ireland this year that had proper training systems in place?

It's that simple. We need the right people who'll put the correct training principles/systems in place. People who understand the human body and will not allow a fighter to drop to a weight class they know they don't belong. Coaches who know how to train the boxers to adapt and adjust the the Olympic style of boxing.

USA boxing needs to allow the coaches to be with their fighters who are on the team in training camp and in the boxers corners during the Olympics. Yes, one coach, one direction, but the right voices who can have the fighters ear when the medal is on the line.

The biggest secret to Olympic success and one that we are missing out on is communication. It's obviously no secret but we've neglected it far too long. I guarantee if they experiment at the next Olympics allowing the fighters true coaches to train them and corner them, success will be enhanced.

Our team suffered some close losses due too lack of discipline and respect for the head coach. Again, why at this level. They have taken the mother away from the babies and the majority of them were crying.

Our team was beaten before competing because of this and a lack of quality training systems being in place. Nothing else.

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