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|Yonemitsu and Varner win final men’s freestyle Olympic gold medals in London
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu of Japan celebrates his 66 kg Olympic freestyle gold medal in London. Jason Bryant photo
LONDON, England – The final two men’s freestyle weight classes were contested on the final day of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games at the ExCel Center.
Winning the 66 kg/145.5 lbs. gold medal was 2011 World silver medalist Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu of Japan, who stopped 2010 World champion and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Sushil Kumar of India, 1-0, 3-1. Yonemitsu was deadly with his leg attack in the final and throughout the tournament.
The gold medal at 96 kg/211.5 lbs went to 2011 World bronze medalist Jake Varner of the United States, who defeated 2012 European silver medalist and 2007 Junior World champion Valerii Andriitsev of Ukraine in the finals, 1-0, 1-0. Varner scored on an ankle pick in the first period and a pushout in the second period. It was the first time these athletes had ever wrestled.
The United States finished with two Olympic gold medals in freestyle, with Jordan Burroughs winning the 74 kg/163 lbs. title on Friday.
Akhzurek Tantarov of Kazakhstan, whose best previous finish was 10th in the 2010 World Championships, won the first Olympic bronze medal at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., beating 2008 Olympic champion and 2007 World champion Ramazan Sahin of Turkey, 1-4, 3-1, 4-2. In the third and deciding period, the athletes had a scramble in which both scored exposure points, but Tantarov came out in control for a second exposure and the win.
2011 World bronze medalist Livan Lopez of Cuba came on strong to pin two-time World bronze medalist Jabrayil Hasanov of Azerbaijan in the final period, 1-3, 2-0, 1:53. After dropping the first period, Lopez opened up his offense, and finished it with a big bodylock throw at the end.
The first bronze medal at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. went to 2001 World champion George Gogeshelidze of Georgia, who defeated Kurban Kurbanov of Kazakhstan, 0-1, 4-0, 2-0 in the medal round. Gogeshelidze won his second Olympic bronze medal, to go with a 2008 Olympic bronze medal. Gogeshelidze now has won seven World or Olympic medals in his career.
The other bronze medal at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. was awarded to 2010 World champion and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Khetag Gazyumov of Azerbaijan, who won by injury default over 2011 World champion Reza Yazdani of Iran. Yazdani was injured in this semifinal loss to Andriitsev and could not wrestle in the bronze match against Gazyumov.
At London, England, Aug. 12
Men’s freestyle results
66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Gold – Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu (Japan)
Silver – Sushil Kumar (India)
Bronze – Akhzurek Tantarov (Kazakhstan)
Bronze – Livan Lopez (Cuba)
5th – Ramazan Sahin (Turkey)
5th – Jabrayil Hasanov (Azerbaijan),
7th – Haislan Garcia (Canada)
8th – David Safaryan (Armenia)
9th – Ikhtiyor Nazruzov (Uzbekistan)
10th – Ali Shabanau (Belarus)
Gold –Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu (Japan) dec. Sushil Kumar (India), 1-0, 3-1
Bronze – Akhzurek Tantarov (Kazakhstan) dec. Ramazan Sahin (Turkey), 1-4, 3-1, 4-2
Bronze - Livan Lopez (Cuba) pin Jabrayil Hasanov (Azerbaijan), 1-3, 2-0, 1:53
96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Gold – Jake Varner (USA)
Silver – Valerii Andriitsev (Ukraine)
Bronze – George Gogeshelidze (Georgia)
Bronze – Khetag Gazyumov (Azerbaijan)
5th – Kurban Kurbanov (Kazakhstan)
5th – Reza Yazdani (Iran)
7th – Magomed Musaev (Kyrgyzstan)
8th – Rustam Isokawa (Japan)
9th – Abdusalam Gadisov (Russia)
10th – Khetag Pliev (Canada)
Gold – Jake Varner (USA) dec. Valerii Andriitsev (Ukraine), 1-0, 1-0
Bronze – George Gogeshelidze (Georgia) dec. Kurban Kurbanov (Kazakhstan), 0-1, 4-0, 2-0
Bronze - Khetag Gazyumov (Azerbaijan) inj. dft. over Reza Yazdani (Iran)