On this episode of Ask Kolat, Cary Kolat answers the question “Why do you think Russia has been so dominant for so many years on the World and Olympic stage?” Kolat says a part of it is their lifestyle. Not only is wrestling a part of their roots as a country but also in places like Dagestan where many of the worlds best wrestlers come from, you don’t always have a hot shower or a grocery store full of any food you want. When you grow up in a tough environment it translates to success in a tough sport like wrestling. Beyond the toughness, the way they teach, coach, and practice all play a part in their success. Kolat speaks about how Russians have a great system for developing wrestlers that doesn’t kill the athlete’s creativity. They also keep the same coach from when they’re young so that coach to athlete connection is extremely strong.
You see similarities in other combat sports such as boxing. Most world champion boxers come from a tough situation growing up. Not only does that harden them but to some extent, there also might be more of a drive to get out of that situation and environment and literally fight to better themselves and their families. Kolat uses the example of the Cuban national wrestling team. If you’re on the team you’re guaranteed three meals a day, a place to sleep, and the ability to travel around the world. You’re also regarded as a celebrity when you come back victorious. Those are extremely motivating factors to be the best.
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