On your different note, I would like to see match side weigh-ins adopted at all levels. Take the emphasis off cutting weight. I actually think that this would help the US, because we wrongly put so much emphasis on dropping weight.
Part of it could simply be that not many guys stick with freestyle once they win one or two world/olympic medals. '96 is the last time we had a freestyle medallist who'd won an Olympic medal in a previous Olympics. As soon as they can, they jump into coaching (if not mma) to get a solid paycheck. The result is that they never really become technically sound at freestyle specific technique not to mention becoming at least average in par terre. I also think that one of our deficiencies is that our guys don't wrestle in enough tournaments. Especially tournaments outside of the US.
My last point is not going to be popular, but it's my opinion. We need to quit using a trial tournament as the end all be all for who makes the team. I like having a tourney and I think it should be part of the decision process, but these guys should all be competing in other tournaments around the world where the coaches can see who's winning against the top guys in the world and our guys can get experience against those top guys. We should be sending the guys who consistently compete well in international tournaments. The point is to win medals at the world stage, not produce feel good stories about the guy who finally put one tourney together and it happened to be the trials. I know it's not a popular concept, but there's a reason why Russia and other countries consistently win more medals, year in and year out. As opposed to us having a really good showing every few years. They send the best guy for the job and base the decision on more than just one tourney.
I now will wait for the inevitable bashing for holding an unpopular opinion.
No bashing from me, that all makes sense.
I wont bash, simply comment about your 2nd point that Zeke has made results at World/Olympic very much a part of the equation as far as determining a rep. Beating Americans is different from beating foreigners. Was Haze really our best option? Last years worlds would suggest no.
Brandon Slay and Garret Lowney in 2000 beat returning Olympians and heavy favorites to win their spot on the 2000 Olympic team and had virtually no international experience, yet both won medals.
I also remember people bashing Jamil Kelley after he beat a murderer's row of accomplished US wrestling stars.
US Track and Field does exactly the same thing. If you are not ready for the trials you don't make the team. And their sport is much less subjective than wrestling. Everyone knows who has the fastest time or longest distance in the last year, but if you don't produce at the trials you are out of luck.