For this first instalment of 10(ish) Questions, we were joined by multiple time national champion, Jack Bond. Excelling in both freestyle and greco-roman, recently winning the 66 kg greco-roman Olympic trials, Jack is currently training in hopes of qualifying his spot at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
How would you describe the practice style and atmosphere of the Salisbury Wrestling Club for someone who has never attended a practice there?
Because our team is fairly small it provides a good atmosphere to focus on technique and be able to work on specifics. Also to get more partners I train a lot with the U of A team. It gives me a good chance to get in hard wrestling with good partners and also be able to have a good 1 one 1 environment to focus on technique. It’s really been an ideal situation.
You compete in both freestyle and greco-roman regularly. How much of your training goes into each particular style?
The majority of my training has still been in freestyle. Mostly because that what other people are training in as well. Moving forward though I will definitely be focusing on Greco. Whether at the U of A or at Salisbury finding people to help me train Greco has not been much of an issue.
What do you think Canada Wrestling could do to best promote and improve greco-roman within Canada and beyond?
Canada is in a tough situation when it comes to Greco. As a country we have a tough enough time funding the freestyle program so I don’t blame Canada wrestling for not funding a Greco program. It’s just the reality of sport funding in Canada. There just isn’t much opportunity to progress with it even if you are successful so athletes focus are freestyle. I’ve done the same the majority of the time. I hope as an athlete competing in Greco and hopefully qualifying the weight I can help garner some attention and interest in Greco. When it comes down to it I just love wrestling and competing. Whatever the style.
In October of 2010, you won the 66 kg silver medal in greco-roman at the Commonwealth Games, facing Myroslav Dykun of England in the final. What did you learn from the experience and how do you think it has improved your wrestling since?
The commonwealth games was a great experience both from an athletic and cultural aspect. India was an incredible place to experience. As an athlete it was my first major multi sport games experience. It definitely helped motivate me to continue chasing my goal of being an Olympian.
Winning the 66 kg greco-roman Olympic Trials in December, you now have the responsibility of qualifying the weight at one of a handful of tournaments. Are you planning on attending both the Pan Am Championships and Pan Am Qualifiers?
I will be attending both pan am qualifiers. Also I will be attending the Dave Schultz memorial at the beginning of February and competing in Greco.
Are you planning on doing any training outside your local area?
I am hoping to spend some time at the OTC with some of the other Canadian Greco athletes. Also I will try and make it out to Saskatoon and train with some of the huskies as well. They have offered to help with my Greco training as well. Our teams have had a great relationship through the years.
Both the US and Cuba have already qualified for the Olympics at 66 kg by placing top 6 at last year’s world championships. Have you ever wrestled any of the remaining nations looking to qualify at the Pan Am level? What other nations would you consider top contenders?
I have competed against many of the pan am nations in freestyle but not in Greco. Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Puerto rico to name a few should all have strong athletes.
What do you feel you need to improve on to ensure qualification for 2012? What do you think are your strengths?
I will be focusing a lot of improving my ground wrestling both offense and defense. Defending on the ground without the use of your legs for blocking and leg fighting adds another challenge on the ground. I feel my explosiveness and ability to score big points out of scrambles are some of my strengths going in.
Beyond the Pan Am or International qualifiers, are you planning on attending any other tournaments abroad this year?
Hopefully the Olympics! But other than the Schultz and the qualifiers I haven’t planned much else.
Finally, who is your favourite wrestler to watch? Who is your most memorable opponent?
Favorite wrestler to watch is a tough one. I watch a lot of international matches. I’ll go with Mavlet Batriov or Bousivar Satiev. Most memorable opponents would probably be wrestling Taghavi at the world championships. I was actually leading 1-0 for about 30 seconds till he decided he’d had enough of that. He was a very respectful champion. Also I had some exhibitions against Jordan Burroughs back in 2008. I hit a 3 point arm throw but just couldn’t stop those doubles. Apparently no one else can either so I don’t feel too bad ahaha.