Robby Smith, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling heavyweight, has become a fan favorite worldwide because of his exciting style of wrestling, and his outgoing and enthusiastic approach to the sport and to life. There is no doubt that when he is in front of the media and the general public, he is very inspiring and entertaining.
Smith will put those communication skills to work on Thursday as he serves as one of the emcees for the 2016 Beat the Streets “United In the Square” international wrestling event, which will be held in historic Times Square.
“It is a great opportunity. It’s a wonderful thing I get to do, to promote wrestling and represent Greco-Roman wrestling. You have to take the opportunity when it presents itself to help promote the sport. It’s mostly a freestyle dual with a Greco-Roman match, announced by a Greco-Roman wrestler,” said Smith.
He will work with Olympic public address announcer Kenny Berger as part of the announcing crew, helping introduce the athletes, identify celebrities on hand, and entertain the thousands who will see top-caliber Olympic wrestling in one of the world’s most iconic locations.
“I have never done this before. Why not do the first one with a bang, in the middle of Times Square? That’s how I do things. Go big or go home. I am going to give it my best shot, be myself with my big personality,” said Smith.
There will be a full card of world-class competitors on display, as Team USA takes on Iran in six men’s freestyle matches, faces Canada in a pair of women’s freestyle bouts and also battles an Olympic champion from Korea in a Greco-Roman match.
One of the reasons that Smith was invited to do this announcing gig was his public interview in front of the crowd after winning the Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City. He fired up the crowd with his enthusiasm and genuine joy.
“My whole life I have been confident in how I speak to people in public. It is always fun for me. I am big on showing emotion, and that is what happened at the Olympic Trials. After the Trials when I won, Kyra Barry of Beat the Streets said they loved what I did there. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, that is what I do. It was inspiring as an athlete to go out there with people cheering you on. I felt I had to thank the crowd there. It hit a lot of people the right way. My parents raised me to be a humble athlete and to be a thankful person,” said Smith.
Joining Smith at the Beat the Streets event will be five of his teammates on the U.S. Olympic Team who will wrestle in the event. 2012 Olympic champion, three-time World champion and 2016 Olympian Jordan Burroughs at 74 kg and 2016 Olympian and two-time NCAA champion J’Den Cox at 86 kg will face opponents from Iran. 2016 Olympian and three-time World champion Adeline Gray and 2016 Olympian and 2015 World champion Helen Maroulis will battle Canadian stars in women’s freestyle. Two-time World bronze medalist and 2016 Olympian Andy Bisek will battle an Olympic and World champion from Korea at 75 kg in Greco-Roman.
Three other members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team will be in attendance. 2016 Olympian and 2015 World Champion freestyle wrestler Kyle Snyder will be on hand to receive the Beat the Streets Man of the Year Award during the Gala event. The two other members of the U.S. Olympic Team in women’s freestyle, 2012 World champion Elena Pirozhkova and Cadet World champion Haley Augello will also be on hand to support their teammates on the mat.
Top Beat the Streets youth wrestlers will take the mat showcasing their skills in exhibition matches beginning at 3:45 p.m. to start the evening. A new feature to be held is the PSAL Girls Freestyle Dual Meet Championships finals, featuring the two top New York City girl’s freestyle wrestling high school teams from the spring girl’s freestyle season. Then it’s Team USA vs. Iran and other guests at 6 p.m., followed by the Beat the Streets Gala Celebration.
The Beat the Streets competition requires a ticket for reserved seating in Times Square, but is an outdoor event. Pedestrians and non-ticket holders are encouraged to watch. Admission tickets may be bought in advance at www.btsny.org or 212.245.6570. A ticket is required for the Gala Celebration at the PlayStation Theater. More details are available at http://www.btsny.org/gala. The Gala Celebration will follow the wrestling competition.