Robby Smith was a three-time high school placewinner out of the rugged one-class California state wrestling championships. On the high school mats, Smith was strong, but he thrived in freestyle and Greco-Roman, winning USA Wrestling national championships in both styles. In 2005 after graduating from San Ramon High School, Smith doubled up, winning Junior National titles in both freestyle and Greco-Roman.
For Smith, high school was the offseason with his focus squarely on being a national champion.
After winning the U.S. Greco-Roman Trials in June in Daytona Beach, Florida, Smith earned the right to represent the United States at the World Championships for the second year in a row.
On Episode 76 of the Short Time Wrestling Podcast, we catch up with the larger-than-life personality that is Robby Smith. He touches on a number of topics, but is very outspoken on what the U.S. and the youth coaches around the country specifically need to do to create a greater appreciation for Greco-Roman wrestling.
Smith talks about how a chance question to his dad, who never wrestled, put him on the wrestling mats for the first time, why he chose Greco-Roman wrestling instead of freestyle, going through the recruiting process when he'd never won a high school state championship.
One of Smith's big talking points was about the importance of all three styles of wrestling.
He headed to Northern Michigan after high school, but quickly wound up fighting for an opportunity at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Nine years later, he's the old guy at the OTC and he's not even 30 yet.
Other topics discussed with Robby Smith include:
- His relationship with his coaches, including Momir Petkovic and Mark Halvorson.
- The foundation of the Community Youth Center in Concord, California.
- Answering a fan-submitted question about “Why is Greco boring?”
- His emerging rock star status in Iran at the Greco-Roman World Cup.
- What wrestling can do for people.
- His move to heavyweight from 96kg.
- His favorite food spot in Colorado, which is The Keg in Manitou Springs.
- And of course, his beard.
Follow Robby on Twitter @rtdsmith.