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Thread: Ben Askren Blog Post from Russia

  1. #1

    Default Ben Askren Blog Post from Russia

    February 19, 2008 originally posted at Flo

    From Russia With Love- My first journey to the motherland

    10:55PM-Vladikavkaz time 1:55PM Missouri time Feb 14th

    Like many of my trips this one started with the veritable planes, trains and automobiles. I woke up at eight, stopped for a red bull and headed to St. Louis. I parked at the Bus Stop and John took a few minutes off work to give me a ride to the airport. I don’t remember any of my flight to New York, I slept the whole time. The walk from the my gate to the other gate was damn near a marathon and I made it just in time for boarding. Also going on this flight were Nate Gallick, Steve & Joe Mocco, Zach Esposito, Kurt Backes, Jared Frayer and our host Paulie. Pualie is a New Yorker who was born in Poland and can speak Russian, he was a ref for a long time and now is a tour host. The flight to Moscow was almost nine hours and besides the first hour I slept none of it, my seatmate was Russian and spoke no English, so I was left to figure out a way to entertain myself for the next eight hours. I finished a John Krakauer book called “Eiger Dreams,” and then proceeded to play spider solitare until the battery on my computer ran out, which isn’t long with this piece of junk. So I cracked out my next book which was about ultra marathon runner Dean Karnazes. This book was great, I read from start to finish without stopping. It is about a guy who was working his 9 to 5 and was hating life so decided to take up something new and trained for the Western States One Hundred which is an endurance race through mountains and deserts of California. By the end of the book he completed a 226 mile run with out stopping and did a marathon at the south pole, moral of the story is that this dude is a bad ass. By the time I was done with this book I was getting a little tired but the sun was coming up and we were only and hour from Moscow so there really wasn’t anytime to sleep. We landed in Moscow and we were picked up by two guys from Athletes in Action and we took off to the hotel. The ride to the hotel went the through the center of Moscow and boy was it drab. Everything was high rise apartments buildings with very bland colors and looking very old. Additionally they use sand for the roads so everything was a very nasty brown looking color. For what is supposed to be the richest city in the world I wasn’t very impressed. When we finally got to the hotel after 29 hours(time change included) of traveling I was ready to pass out because it was 5am Missouri time. However our guides had other ideas, because he set up our work out was only 45 minutes away. How you hail cabs in Moscow is very interesting, you just wave down any random car you see then barter with them until you have a deal and they locals will take you where ever you go. After departing from the cab I slipped on the ice and took one of the hardest falls of my life, Frayer couldn’t stop laughing at me. We also got quite a kick out of our AIA guide talking about meeting Christian girls on dating sites on the web. My head was spinning when Espo and I started drilling because I had been awake for 30 hours. I felt a lot better after the drill and sauna. The saunas here are very interesting, they are used for social gathering such as sex parties, I think. There is a sauna plus a cold tub, then usually a few rooms with nothing besides leather couches. We got back to the hotel and grabbed a bite from the hotel, then I went up to the room and get really excited because I was able to connect to the internet. To Be Continued…..

    10:27AM Vladikavkaz time 1:27AM Missouri time
    So picking up where I left off last night I sent out some emails to those who needed to hear from me and I checked on the team sectional results from my Alumni, the Arrowhead Warhawks. The opposing team had an interesting strategy to bypass the team sectional in favor of individual sectionals so they lost 80-0 by throwing in some back ups to get torn apart. After I got off the computer I was out like a light. After staying awake for 30 plus hours I was ready for some sleep regardless that it was early afternoon Missouri time. A lot of the team has been complaining about being able to sleep because of the time change, but haven’t noticed it a bit. The rest of the team and coaches arrived during the night and we were off to Vladikavkaz by way of Domodedevo airport. Another interesting thing Russians do is drink water with “gas” or carbonation, this stuff is gross, I would rather go thirsty than drink it. Domodedevo was in comparison to Sherementevo a much nicer and more modern airport. Besides that we had to take a bus to get to the 50 year old and very uncomfortable airplane everything went smoothly. Cuba and Uzbekistan were also on the same plane as us. During this flight I started my third book of the trip which is a biography of the late Anatoli Bourkeev, a famous Russian mountaineer. The landing at Baslan airfield was rough at best. However, we did get a reception on the tarmac by a bunch of reporters, translators and a three legged dog which KJ remembered from his trip here many years ago. Baslan was the site of the mass murder at a school by terrorists that killed nearly 500 people a couple of years back. We stopped by the grave sites and check out the memorial to them (picture above). The Russian headstones have pictures of the people on them, they look really good, I think I will get one of them when it is my time to go. The rest of our trip to the hotel was by police escort it was kind of nice having royal treatment and not stopping at any lights. Hotel Vladikavkaz was much more modern than I could have ever imagined, besides the tiny rooms and frigs that down work it is great. After some lunch and a quick nap we headed over to the wrestling room, where Espo and I got a good drill, then it was on to the sauna. My earlier suspicions were confirmed about the saunas being for sex parties as we found an unopened pack of condoms in this sauna. After a nice sauna and jump in the cold tub I was down to only four pounds over, very nice!!! We headed back to the hotel grabbed some dinner and it was off to bed. Since I speak no Russian I am in what seems to be isolation since I can communicate with no one. It is very frustrating and I wish I would have learned some more Russian from Max before I left for this trip. I have picked up a few words from Paulie, but not nearly enough to communicate effectively. My sleep was very good again for the second night, expect for a dream about Hamas trying to come kill Steve (Mocco) and I, I slept all through the night. Today has been extremely boring I am still four pounds over, biding my time before I have to go work out and make weight. Bounce.

    Monday 9:30amVladikavkaz time 12:30am Missouri time.
    I just got finished reading my fourth book of the trip, this one was about high school running prodigy Alan Webb, it was very good. It is really boring here, no TV, no Internet, No phone, Not much leaving the hotel, so reading is about all I have to do. The World Cup didn’t go so well for myself nor the team. Making weight on Friday went really well, Espo and I worked out and it was the best I felt making weight so far. That night we found out we Russia first round and I would get to wrestle Buviassa Satiev. I was pumped to wrestle a legend in his homeland would be a dream. Well the next morning I figured out that I didn’t get wrestle Satiev but Russia’s back up Tsargush, needless to say I was pretty disappointed The atmosphere at the arena was amazing, it was sold out, and people were hanging from the rafters, literally, check out the picture. Anyways my first match was terrible I got taken down in the first and almost had a takedown in the last ten seconds before I tried a desperation stepover and went to my back. The second period was very much the same and I was so frustrated. I lost to Russia’s #3 wrestler and I wrestled a terrible match. Our team lost 6-1 also. The next match was against Ukraine and we would be down a wrestler, because Nate Gallick got hurt in the first match. Of the matches we did wrestle we went 3-3 against them. I wrestled better, however I wrestled another backup because 2006 world champion Aldatov sat out the tournament. I won the first period 3-2 on a turn in the last ten seconds. The second period I won 6-1, I had a cradle locked up and the judge confirmed the pin but then took it away, so I put the guy in the assassin and racked up some more points. Due to the Gallick injury we lost 4-3 and would be going for fifth place in the morning. The rest of the day was uneventful, we returned to the arena for the opening ceremonies, which were moderately interesting but lasted over an hour. In the night session Russia rolled up Ukraine winning all 14 periods in the dual meet. The crowds were are so amazing, they really applaud good wrestling regardless of country They are so into the matches and their wrestling knowledge is second to none, I can’t count the number of times this weekend that KJ was asked for his picture. Sunday morning we really took it to Turkey winning 5-2 and one of the losses was Gallicks forfeit. I had my best international match yet crushing the Turk 7-0,6-0. In the first period I came out of a scramble with two back points and finished the period with two guts and a hold. In the second period I got another two point takedown and followed it with a leg on leg lace for one more. I got another takedown and finished him off with an assassin, the crowd went nuts. I felt good about this match but still realize that he wasn’t A-level competition so I still need to step it up a couple notches. Russia won in the finals 5-2, more than one match pitted former world champions against each other. Russia’s performance in the upperweights was impressive. Sunday night we had the banquet and the food was absolutely disgusting. Now I am overly picky when I am eating, but I was hungry and half of the food on the table I wouldn’t have eaten if you paid me. Once again I was in bed by ten, which is weird because in the States I can’t ever get to sleep before 1am. Today most of the team leaves to go home to the States, Steve, Jared, Kurt and Myself are staying until tomorrow in which we go to Moscow to fly to Kiev for the next tournament. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to get onto the internet.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ben Askren Blog Post from Russia

    Very interesting it appears he reads a lot.

  3. #3
    World Champ ODH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ben Askren Blog Post from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Schlottke View Post
    ... I won the first period 3-2 on a turn in the last ten seconds. The second period I won 6-1, I had a cradle locked up and the judge confirmed the pin but then took it away, so I put the guy in the assassin and racked up some more points... In the second period I got another two point takedown and followed it with a leg on leg lace for one more. I got another takedown and finished him off with an assassin.
    Can anybody tell me what an assasin is?

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    Default Re: Ben Askren Blog Post from Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by ODH View Post
    Can anybody tell me what an assasin is?
    Its when a hired killer kills his target.

  5. #5
    World Champ ODH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ben Askren Blog Post from Russia

    Thanks. Askren sure takes his wrestling seriously.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ben Askren Blog Post from Russia

    i am pretty sure it is when you have a leg in and turk the guy over by using the same-side arm your leg is on.

    with the left leg in, you will get him to put his weight on his right side. With your left arm, you will reach from the right side of his neck to his left armpit / pec (kind of like a one-arm head lock) and turk him over. i am thinking you can lock it up like a reverse headlock, but will have to check on that.

    i know someone who has video of him teaching this. it may take me awhile to actually get the tape and to make sure i am thinking of the right thing, though.
    Last edited by _SL_; 02-19-2008 at 11:43 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Ben Askren Blog Post from Russia

    anyone else get a ray brinzer vibe from askren?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Ben Askren Blog Post from Russia

    Yes, and I'm pretty sure its intentional from his end.

    Awesome posts, Eiger Dreams is a money book.

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