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|Justin Lester stays alive in Olympics, needs 2 more wins to earn bronze medal
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Justin Lester battles Hungary’s Tamas Lorincz in the quarterfinals of the Olympics. John Sachs photo.
LONDON – Justin Lester can’t win a gold medal.
But he still has an opportunity for bronze at the Olympic Games in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Lester fell in the quarterfinals to Hungary’s Tamas Lorincz, but received a chance to come back in the repechage wrestlebacks when Lorincz advanced to the finals before a sellout crowd of 6,500 fans Tuesday at the ExCel North Arena 2.
Lester will face Germany’s Frank Staebler with the winner battling World silver medalist Manukhar Tskhadia of Georgia in the bronze medal match at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Lester will wrestle Staebler at 5:45 p.m. London time (12:45 p.m. Eastern).
Lester rolled to a convincing two-period win over Japan’s Tsutomu Fujimara in the first round before coming out strong in the quarterfinals against Lorincz.
Lester scored two pushouts to win the first period 2-0 over Lorincz, who placed fifth at the 2009 Worlds. But Lorincz rebounded to win the final two periods 1-0, 2-0.
Lester is a two-time World bronze medalist.
Lester is the last medal hope for the U.S. in Greco. The last time the U.S. didn’t win a medal in an Olympic Greco-Roman tournament it competed in was 1976.
The Greco-Roman weight class of 96 kg/211.5 lbs. was also contested on Tuesday, but the U.S. didn’t qualify for the Olympics in that division.
Day 4 of the eight-day Olympic wrestling tournament is scheduled for Wednesday at the ExCel Center. Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. (8 a.m. Eastern Time) in London. Fans can watch a live webcast of the event on nbcolympics.com.
The women’s freestyle tournament will kick off with Americans Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) and Elena Pirozhkova (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) scheduled to compete on Wednesday.
Chun, who competes at 48 kg/105.5 lbs., is a 2008 World champion who placed fifth at the 2008 Olympics. Pirozhkova is a 2010 World silver medalist at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. She is wrestling in her first Olympic Games.
ExCel Center, London, England
66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Tamas Lorincz (Hungary) vs. Hyeon-Woo Kim (Korea)
96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Ghasem Rezaei (Iran) vs. Rustam Totrov (Russia)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Justin Lester, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
WIN Tsutomu Fujimura (Japan), 3-0, 3-1
LOSS Tamas Lorincz (Hungary), 2-0, 0-1, 0-2
vs. Frank Staebler (Germany) in repechage