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BUDAPEST, Hungary — Thomas Gilman is a returning World silver medalist. He’s also the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the world.
Neither means much to the three-time Hawkeye All-American as the 2018 UWW World Championships open Oct. 20 in Budapest, Hungary.
Gilman is the United States’ representative at 57 kilograms (125.5 pounds) for the second straight year at the World Championships. His tournament begins Sunday at 3:30 a.m. (CT), and if he makes a run to the finals, as he did last year, he wrestles for gold Monday at 11 a.m.
You can count the hours until the opening whistle inside your head, but Gilman won’t go down that road. His focus, he says, is on taking care of his mind and body one day at a time.
“I don’t think too much about the past or too much about the future,” Gilman said earlier this week between workouts in Budapest. “I have a great vision and plan and know where I want to go. When training and competing, I like to focus on the here and now.
“I know if I take care of business every day, the future will take care of itself. I know I’m going to be ready to go when it’s time to go.”
He’s also not hung up results from yesteryear, when he defeated wrestlers from Ukraine, Iran, Uzbekistan, and North Korea by a combined score of 25-7 before falling in the finals to Japan’s Yuki Takahashi, 6-0.
“I don’t think about that too much,” he said. “I’ve analyzed last year’s tournament and took the good with the bad, and have since moved forward setting my sights on what’s next.”
The 57 kg bracket is loaded with contenders. All four returning medalists — Takahashi, Gilman, Erdenebat (Mongolia), and Yatsenko (Ukraine) — are in the field. Gilman is expected to earn a seed. The other three are not, meaning they could meet in any round based on the random draw. Russia’s Zavur Uguev is the top seed and will be on the opposite side of the bracket from Gilman.
None of that matters to the HWC corner. Gilman was unseeded on his run to the finals a year ago, so no matter the round, you have to be ready at the World Championships.
“He is ready,” Brands said. “He’s a veteran. The thing is, he was a veteran last year because he has been on a Junior World Team (2013). He was on a Cadet World Team (2011). He was a junior world medalist (2014). He was a veteran last year, and now he has senior level international experience. Now it’s time to win.”
Since first committing to the Hawkeyes in 2011, Gilman’s eye has always been on winning NCAA and World Titles. He reached the NCAA finals in 2016, and was a semifinalist in 2015 and 2017. He raised a lot of eyebrows last year when he placed higher at the 2017 World Championships than he did at the 2017 national tournament. That’s a credit, he says, to focusing on the present and surrounding yourself with people who share the same values.
“Every year that goes by and the more I learn about myself, I make adjustments in my lifestyle and nutrition. My training stays the same. We have a great system and program at Iowa and by buying in and believing in the system, good things happen,” Gilman said.
“I can’t thank the HWC and the Iowa Wrestling community enough. I wouldn’t be here without the army of support behind me. It’s an honor and privilege to represent an organization that has produced many great wrestlers through the years.”
Gilman’s training partner in Budapest: Cory Clark — 2017 NCAA Champion, Gilman’s college teammate since 2012, and HWC teammate since 2017.
The injury bug: Two-time world silver medalist and HWC member Alli Ragan withdrew from the 2018 World Championships due to injury. Ragan has made six straight senior level teams.
The HWC: The Hawkeye Wrestling Club supports 13 senior level wrestlers (eight men and five women) and one full-time head coach (Mark Perry). Gilman, Clark, and Perry are in Budapest.
Thomas GILMAN (57 kg)
2018 UWW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE
Sunday, Oct. 21 | 3:30 a.m. CT – Qualifying Rounds and Semifinals
Monday, Oct. 22 | 11 a.m. CT – FINALS
HOW TO WATCH
Trackwrestling is streaming the 2018 UWW World Championships online for a price of $29.99. That price includes live and archived matches from the UWW World Championships in Budapest.
NBC Sports Group will showcase the UWW World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, with nearly 30 hours of coverage, including more than 20 hours of live coverage on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.