Zain Retherford is your Team USA world team representative at 65kg - for now. A wild finish in the Zain Train’s second bout with Cornell’s uber-talented Yianni Diakomihalis produced officiating controversy. Rob Koll vowed to protest to the USOC. Let’s get to the details.
Trailing 6-4 with about 1 minute remaining in the match, Zain powered through a low double-leg and knocked Yianni to his rear end. In folkstyle, Zain already scored 2 points for a takedown. But this is freestyle, not folkstyle. In freestyle, Zain’s in terrific position, and in ordinary circumstances, would score.
Ordinary, however, is not a valid descriptor of Yianni D. He’s actually really, really dangerous from this cracked down, butt sitting position. While Zain’s driving forward on his double, Yianni chest wraps Zain - which, frankly, is Yianni’s last hope. There are 8 other things Yianni would rather do off of Zain’s double, but Zain’s double was a little too clean. So this chest wrap from his butt, with legs straightened, is a desperation move.
Zain’s desperate, too, however. As the time ticks down, trailing 6-4, Zain needs to score two points - either from the takedown, or from exposure. Zain works to get his right arm freed to cover both hips - but Yianni’s chest wrap prevents it. The (freestyle) takedown is probably out.
Tick, tick, tick
Zain next shelves one of Yianni’s legs, gets a base with his own left foot, and plows forward off of that planted foot, expecting to expose Yianni’s back, and get the winning 2 points. He gets it. In fact, Yianni’s flat on his back.
While Yianni’s flat on his back, with Zain on top of him, he keeps that chest wrap, and rolls Zain through - exposing Zain’s back.
Zain rolls through, and now they’re head-to-foot. Zain elevates, and nearly exposes Yianni again - I mean, it is really, really close - but time ends. The challenge brick enters the scene, and the controversy begins.
On the scoreboard, it’s been tallied as “2 and 2” - two for Zain, two for Yianni, an 8-6 Yianni final score. That’s incorrect.
International Freestyle has 3 officials, thanks to our eastern European communist / socialist cheaters. The idea behind 3 officials is that there must be a “majority” - that’d be 2 officials - in agreement with how points get awarded before those points can be typed onto the scoreboard. Two officials being harder to bribe / ransom than merely one official, you see.
Two officials are primary, and the third official is the tie-breaker. Here’s how the three officials judged the action described above:
>Primary Official #1: 2 points for Zain
>Primary Official #2: 2 points for Yianni
>Tie Breaker Official: 2 points for both of them
Three officials, three different outcomes, from the same sequence. And none of the three is an eastern Euro commie cheater - they’re all red-blooded Americans. In other words, it was a difficult sequence to score.
The tie-breaker official’s notion of “2 and 2” (which I happen to agree with) is thrown out. Tie-breaker official must pick either 2 for Zain, or 2 for Yianni. Tie-breaker official picks 2 for Zain, the scoreboard updates, Yianni’s coaches toss their challenge brick (in vain), and Zain gets his arm raised.
There are 8 more layers of controversy to this thing - when did Cael/Casey throw the brick, how far back (in time) can the officials actually go to review the action, was that last minute one continuous sequence of action or not, is Jimmy Hoffa actually buried in the Meadowlands swamp. Fittingly, our pals at Flowrestling gave us a Zapruder film, ultra-slow-motion replay of the action. It’s behind a paywall or we’d link to it.
Rob Koll’s protest to the USOC, however, must hinge on the mechanics of the rules, not the judgement of the officials in the scoring. If the protest is “hey I don’t agree with 2 for Zain”, well tough crap. The protest has to be about “you can’t go back 40 seconds to review”.
What’s ultimately going to happen? Probably nothing. The protest will fail, Zain will keep the spot he earned, and from the looks of things, will go win a medal for USA in Kazakhstan. But that’s just a guess. Tell us what you think in the comments.
USA Wrestling posted the matches. Here’s the 2nd Zain - Yianni bout.
More Final X
J’Den Cox proved difficult to score upon for our guy Bo Nickal. Bo weighed in at 87.7 kg for this 92kg weight class. Bo had 3 excellent shots on J’Den, and J’Den scored all of the points off of those 3 excellent shots. And that’s all we have to say about that.
Nick Gwiazdowski beat Gable Steveson twice, in two outstanding heavyweight matches. Big men who can move their feet are really rare, but man are they also really fun to watch.
Junior Pan Ams
As our BSD Wrestling Teammate Pete the Streak noted for us, Roman Bravo Young and Seth “Big Snacks” Nevills both captured Gold for Team USA at the Junior Pan Ams.
Final X Part Deux - Lincoln, NE, this coming weekend.
57kg: Daton Fix vs Thomas Gilman
61kg: Joe Colon vs Tyler Graff
70kg: Ryan Deakin vs James Green
74kg: Jordan Burroughs vs Isaiah Martinez
97kg: Kyle Snyder vs Kyven Gadson