Many people have said that American wrestling loses many athletes to other sports. That maybe so in high school but not in college and beyond where most people specialize in one sport mainly. Most of the wrestlers up to about 163 pounders cannot really play well in football, basketball, or even baseball. Interestingly our lower weights and middle weights have not done much better than some of the upper weights. Monday, Jackson, Sanderson, Douglass, Gardner and Baumgartner were all very accomplished.
My thoughts as a result is that American wrestling loses many people to profitable professions such as banking, law, medicine and others. Think about it, many very poor but gifted people want to use their talents to become wealthy and successful. How will wrestling in America do that for them? It will not. In Soviet Union and now in Russia wrestlers led some of the best lives as many other athletes as well. Successful wrestlers had some money, housing, cars, prestige, and they traveled all over the world. That is why many of them eventually end up in Russian government. They are generally smart people.
In America, all these poor but gifted people turn to non-athletic professions to utilize their talents. Which really smart guy wants to get pounded in the wrestling room Iowa style and run Cog trails and after get zilch for it? It is clear. Russia simply has smarter athletes and coaches.