Steiner believes it’s time to give up folkstyle for freestyle

Updated: November 19, 2019

By Kyle Klingman

Terry Steiner had never seen a college wrestling meet until he was a senior in high school. He and his identical twin brother, Troy, grew up in Bismarck, N.D., and drove to Minneapolis in 1988 to watch Iowa defeat Minnesota. Both eventually signed with Iowa and won individual NCAA titles under Dan Gable.

Their second meet? North Idaho wrestled Bismarck Junior College when they came to the Steiners’ hometown.

Today, the Steiners are wrestling influencers. Terry is the head women’s national team coach at USA Wrestling and Troy is the head wrestling coach at Fresno State. Both have accumulated a wealth of experience since that point, traveling the country and the globe on behalf of wrestling.

Terry Steiner

To be clear, the Iowa-Minnesota meet was the very first time either had watched a college wrestling meet of any kind. Terry and Troy Steiner were wrestling neophytes when they attended Iowa.

That was over 30 years ago and wrestling has changed exponentially since that point. Imagine a scenario where a good high school wrestler has not seen hours of wrestling footage either on-line or in person.

Terry’s personal growth in wrestling included a seismic shift about women’s wrestling, too. Women weren’t supposed to wrestle … at least that’s what he was told. Steiner thought USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender was crazy when he asked him to lead the women’s program.

That was in 2002 and Steiner has been the coach ever since.

There’s another change Steiner desires: he wants the American style of wrestling to be the international style of wrestling.

Come again?

Terry Steiner, a control wrestler known for his amazing top skills while in college, wants the United States to go straight freestyle.

What about all his college tilts and turns for near-fall points? What about breaking down an opponent with his vicious ride? What about picking up an additional point for riding time since you were so good on top, Terry?

“I think we hold ourselves back at the international level by wrestling American folkstyle,” Steiner said. “I enjoyed wrestling it and I enjoyed watching it but we put our athletes at a disadvantage. We put ourselves at a disadvantage with years of folkstyle wrestling.

“I could have gone through a high school and college system where I learned the ins and outs of freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling instead of folkstyle.”

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