Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

No Holds Barred: Kevin Jackson on the Spectacular Wrestling at the 2012 Olympics 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with 1992 freestyle wrestling Olympic gold medalist, former MMA fighter, and current head wrestling coach for the Iowa State Cyclones, Kevin Jackson.

We spoke by phone Sunday evening just after the conclusion of the 2012 London Olympics, and the eight days of wrestling at it, and both agreed that this was a great event which showcased spectacular wrestling and unparalleled athleticism.

Speaking about U.S. freestyle wrestler Jordan Burroughs, who won a gold medal at 74 kg, Coach Jackson noted the "electricity that surrounds him and the technical skills and the athletic ability and the energy in which he wrestled with, of scoring points and not going to one clinch." Burroughs wrestling this way on the first day of freestyle competition "set the tone" for other wrestlers in other weight classes, he added.

On the issue of world-class wrestlers, particularly some Americans, leaving international competition to go into MMA, Coach Jackson commented, "Most wrestlers want to wrestle. If they're still in a position, in a situation to be the best in the world, that's what they want to do. But some choose not to. They choose to go into the MMA for the financial gain, as opposed to the fame or the challenge."

We also discussed the success of 96 kg freestyle wrestling gold medalist Jake Varner of the U.S., who was a two-time NCAA champion at Iowa State and wrestled in his senior year under Coach Jackson. We discussed many of the great accomplishments at the 2012 Olympics in wrestling, including three wrestlers winning their third straight Olympic gold medals: Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho of Japan in women's freestyle, and Artur Taimazov of Uzbekistan in men's freestyle. We discussed how the collegiate wrestling programs in the U.S. have helped prepare wrestlers for international competition, what are the prospects for Iowa State in this coming season, and much more.

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