Tag Archives: world championships

26: Fred Turoff on Saving Temple University Men’s Gymnastics

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In episode 26, I talk with Fred Turoff, head coach of men’s gymnastics at Temple University, one of 16 D1 college gymnastics programs. He is in the US Gymnastics Hall of Fame as a coach. He is now coaching his 38th season, leading the team to be conference champions 18 of those years. We talk about the recent announcement that Temple will be eliminating 7 sports in 2014, men’s gymnastics being one of them. We talk about the unfortunate way in which the decision was made (behind closed doors, with no communication with the coaches) and announced (right before finals week). We also talk about gymnastics in general, the six events of men’s gymnastics, training methods, mindset, and much more. Please sign the petition and find other ways to help at templegymnastics.com.

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Video Excerpt

Quotes

Fred talked at length about the various ways in which his program is a success regionally, financially, academically, and in giving to the community. Here’s a short random excerpt:

“Nobody engaged me as a coach and said ‘Look I have this financial problem, what can we do to help this?’ In terms of finances. When you look at the number of kids that are coming here for gymnastics and paying their own way. The total is more than the cost of my program. We pay for ourselves and we raise money. In terms of facility, although my facility here is not an ideal one when you compare it to the best schools, but we’ve been successful and we make do with what we have. According to the previous athletic director, we’ve been funded to compete well regionally. I think 18 of 37 conference championships is competing very well regionally.”

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24: Kyle Dake, 4x NCAA Wrestling Champion

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In episode 24, I talk with Kyle Dake, 4x NCAA champion, Dan Hodge trophy winner, and 2013 SI College Athlete of the Year, about a tradition of wrestling in his family, early wrestling days, the influence of his mom and dad, setting goals, overcoming losses early in his career, facing Jordan Burroughs, David Taylor, Andrew Howe, competing with a broken hand against a 2x world champion, Denis Tsargush, training to exhaustion, keeping the training fun, being pushed by training partners like Jordan Leen, Call of Duty, Breaking Bad, and much more.

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Audio Clips on YouTube

Quotes

Kyle on the mental toughness advice his mom gave him:

“Your mind will break before your body will break.”

Kyle on his approach to the intense pace of competition:

“You have to learn how to function when you’re dog-tired… when you don’t think your body is capable of doing anything more, but you have to do more. You can either cower, give up takedowns, give up points, submit to the guy, or you can do everything in your power to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Kyle on the training to exhaustion:

“Feeling that exhaustive state is very important in the practice room, because once you get on the mat and you’ve felt that pain before, you’ve felt that exhaustion, it’s a lot easier to overcome it in competition.”

Jordan Leen, Kyle’s teammate and NCAA champ out of Cornell, said the following in an ESPN commentary as Kyle was wrestling in his 2010 NCAA finals match:

“Kyle Dake refuses to accept failure at any level. He takes it personally when he gets taken down in the room. It affects his soul almost. He is a well balanced wrestler, but they key is that he has to win. According to him, he has to win. He will do anything that it took to win.”

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19: JT Torres on No-Gi Worlds, ADCC, Drilling, and Training at Atos

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In episode 19, I talk with JT Torres, American-born no-gi World Champion, ADCC medalist, Worlds medalist, Pans medalist. We talk about his perseverance and drive to  win the World Championships, winning the No-Gi Worlds, his bronze at ADCC, the close relationship with his dad,  his little brother, training in Maryland and San Diego, breakfast burritos, drilling, being pushed to the limit every day,  pre-tournament  routine, visualization, referee decisions, closing out a bracket with Jared Weiner, eventually moving back East, hip hop music, and much more.

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Quotes

JT on his routine in the bullpen before the match:

“Before the match, I’m visualizing my hand raised over and over and over again..”

JT on winning the 2013 No-Gi World Championship:

“It felt amazing. I really hung in there these last few years. I came up short the last few times, had a few rough calls, and easily anyone in my position could’ve just packed it up and say ‘screw this I’m going to move on’ … But I never quit. There were times when I thought about it. But I never quit. Kept working hard, training hard for years, and finally got my World title and it feels amazing.”

JT on cutting weight before a tournament:

“As they say, a hungry dog fights harder.”

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YouTube Version

18: Ilias Iliadis Interview

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In episode 18, I talk with Ilias Iliadis. He is truly one of the legends of judo, an Olympic gold and bronze medalist, two-time world champion, and 5-time world medalist. And still only 26 years old (turning 27 two days after the interview and of course training on his birthday). We talk about his birthday two days after the interview, his son and daughter, his father and coach, starting at a young age, the 2004 Olympics,  the 2010 and 2011 world championships, Mark Huizinga, Varlam Liparteliani, Mark Anthony, winning international tournaments in four different weight classes (73kg, 81kg, 90kg, 100kg), Teddy Riner, 2013 world championships, ogoshi, seoi nage, no-gi, and more.

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Thank you to Teo BJJ for hosting us for the interview. And thank you to my friend Niko for helping make it all happen.

Video Version of Interview

Quotes

Ilias Iliadis on when he first thought he could be an Olympic gold medalist:

“When I was young I dreamed I could be Olympic champion. I believed it then. But it happened even faster than in my dreams.”

Ilias Iliadis on learning from a loss:

“I believe when you lose you learn. You gain experience.”

Ilias Iliadis on maintaining the edge on the best in the world:

“If you want to take the tile, you have to be training, always. When I’m training, I think of my opponent and how he is training. I want to always be training more than my opponent.”

Ilias Iliadis on there not being any one element that is most important for a throw:

“In judo, when you do a technique, you need your whole body.”

Ilias Iliadis on the uncertainty of a judo match:

“Every competition is important for me, and every competition I think I can win. But this is judo. Everybody has a chance.”

Iliad Iliadis on whether he likes the new judo rules:

“We are athletes. We can’t change anything. All we can do is fight and win.”

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