MARQUETTE, Mich.—Members of the Greco-Roman wrestling team training at the United States Olympic Education Center have a busy fall semester planned. Combined, team members will travel more than 50,000 miles, visit six countries and make two stops in the United States before the end of the semester in December.
“Traveling to different countries is an important part of our growth in the sport,” said assistant coach Aghasi Manukyan. “When we compete against the best in the world, our athletes experience different techniques and learn where they need to improve.”
Although athletes get to experience different cultures and, at times, have the opportunity take in the sights, traveling is seen as part of the job.
“It is the reason I’m here; I’m not only here to go to school, but also be able to travel and represent my country,” said Marcus Finau of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, who recently returned from a trip to Thailand. “It is difficult at times to keep up with classes. As athletes, we just need to find the right balance between classes and wrestling.”
Three athletes have already visited Thailand this semester, and two athletes and one coach are currently in Baku, Azerbaijan, competing in the Golden Grand Prix Tournament. Other trips planned this semester will take athletes to Finland, Sweden and Panama. Stateside, they will travel to New York and Minnesota.