The United States Olympic boxing team is the most decorated in the history of the Summer Olympics with 108 medals. However, 2012 was a disgrace for the team, finishing with no medals for the first time in history. After the embarrassing performance by the American boxers, the U.S. Olympic Committee promised changes to the national governing body.
"We're going to sit down and take a hard look at why we are where we are, and make some changes," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said. "I don't want to say anything beyond that."
There are a lot of things wrong with the Team USA boxing team. While some say that the competition worldwide has grown tougher, that is no excuse. That only means that the Americans are not improving at the same rate. Team USA still dominates basketball and maybe that is where the difference lies.
Former U.S. Olympic medal winners included Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya. The big difference between the boxing competition and basketball play is that boxing is strictly for amateurs. However, where is the next De La Hoya? An even better question is why professional boxers are not allowed into Olympic play?
The only Olympic sports that no longer allow professionals to compete are boxing and wrestling. However, many countries have full-time amateur athletes. While they are not professionals, they train year round for the worldwide competition. That alone puts the U.S. at a disadvantage, as they still use pure amateurs.
The biggest problem with Team USA in 2012 was the uncertainty of the coaching staff. The U.S. team almost lost their financial backing but finally received it with the order that they change coaches. The 2012 coaching staff joined the team just over a month before the games started.
However, that is not the only problem. Since 1996, only one U.S. boxer won a gold medal, Andre Ward in 2004. It is time for the United States to figure out how to fix their Olympic boxing team.
Image from Wikimedia Commons