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|Kolat vs. Tedeev is the new “Bout of the Week” on USA Wrestling Audio/Video website|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling has updated its new "Bout of the Week" which has been posted as a video file on-line on TheMat.com Audio/Video website .
The featured match this week is the 1998 Cary Kolat vs. Elbrus Tedeev bronze medal match at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. at the World Championships in Tehran, Iran.
This matchup featured two outstanding wrestlers who had high achievements on the international level and were at the top of their game. One would go home with a medal, and the other would be in fourth place for that year. Both of their careers would also be remembered for matches that were changed through the protest process.
Elbrus Tedeev of Ukraine had already reached the top at his weight class, when he won a gold medal at the 1995 World Championships in Atlanta, Ga. Going into that season, his best previous finish was seventh at the 1994 World meet. His 1995 championship finals bout against Takahiro Wada of Japan was controversial. On the mats, the officials had awarded the match to Wada, but the decision was reversed afterwards on protest and Tedeev received the gold medal at the ceremony.
He followed that performance with a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, a weight class won by American Tom Brands. In 1997, Tedeev slipped to fifth in the World, missing out on a medal but clearly still in the hunt at the highest level.
Cary Kolat of the United States had emerged as the "next" American star at a weight class that featured great heroes. Starting with Randy Lewis at the 1984 Olympics, the United States won four straight Olympic titles at that weight class: Lewis (1984), John Smith (1988, 1992), Tom Brands (1996). Based upon his background and talent level, Kolat had already proven that he would continue American success at this division.
Kolat was one of the most successful high school champions in American history. Out of a small Jefferson-Morgan High School in Western Pennsylvania, Kolat became a legend in a wrestling-hungry region. He won four state high school titles with a 137-0 record, and was Outstanding Wrestler numerous times. He also proved he could beat college and older wrestlers by taking bronze medals at both the 1989 and 1990 Midlands Championships, one of the toughest Open folkstyle events in the nation.
He displayed a special talent in freestyle wrestling, as well. Kolat was a Cadet World champion and Outstanding Wrestler in 1989, then started competing at the Senior level with amazing results. Kolat was fourth in the 1991 U.S. Nationals after his junior year in high school, and was fifth at both the U.S. Nationals and the Olympic Team Trials in 1992 after his senior year. He was the overwhelming choice as the ASICS High School Wrestler of the Year, and went into college with great fanfare.
Kolat first wrestled for Penn State Univ., where he was second in the 1993 NCAA Championships as a freshman and third as a sophomore at the 1994 NCAA meet. He transferred to Lock Haven Univ., where he went on to become a two-time NCAA champion (1996, 1997) and perhaps the top competitor in the storied history of the program.
He continued his freestyle success, with the goal of making the 1996 Olympic team. At the 1996 Olympic Trials, he placed fourth, in a division won by Brands. The next year, with Brands retired, Kolat completely took over the weight class on the national level, winning the 1997 U.S. Nationals as well as the 1997 World Team Trials.
At his first World Championships in 1997 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Kolat had a great performance. He won all of his preliminary bouts to make the finals, beating Wada in the first round, and former World champion Sergei Smal in the pool finals. In the championship finals, he lost a frustrating and controversial bout to Iran's Abbas Haji-Kenari, 4-2. Haji-Kenari took numerous timeouts late in the bout to tie his shoes. A year later, FILA changed the rules to require wrestlers to tape their laces.
In 1998, Kolat again won the World Team Trials to qualify for the U.S. team. Kolat won 1998 World Cup, Goodwill Games and Pan American Games, heading into the tournament with great momentum. Tedeev was also in the field, seeking to return to the top of the podium himself.
Kolat opened the tournament with a victory, then faced Serafim Barzakov of Bulgaria. Kolat won the match 3-1 in overtime, but it was protested, and FILA overturned the decision, giving the win to Barzakov, 3-1. Kolat battled back from the loss and five straight matches, including a victory over Russia's tough Magomed Azizov, which placed him in the bronze medal bout.
On the other side, Tedeev also suffered a loss in the pool, and the Iranian Haji-Kenari advanced into the finals. Barzakov scored a pin over Haji-Kenari to win his first World title.
The bronze medal match between Kolat and Tedeev was considered one of the best matches in recent years, with a high level of action and skill the entire bout. Kolat emerged as the winner, 3-1 in overtime, and captured the bronze medal, his second straight World medal.
Both of these wrestlers continued forward, seeking to win a World and Olympic title. For Kolat, his misfortunes concerning protests at the World level continued.
At the 1999 World Championships, Kolat once again entered as a top favorite. He won his first four matches of the tournament, where he drew Tedeev in the semifinals. On the mat, Kolat emerged with a 4-2 overtime win and he was headed for the gold-medal match. The bout was protested and FILA overturned the result. Under the new rules, the match had to be re-wrestled. This time, Tedeev won the match, 2-1 in overtime.
Tedeev went on to win the World title in 1999, while Kolat was defeated in the bronze-medal match by Ramil Islamov of Uzbekistan and Kolat placed fourth.
The 2000 Olympic Games would continue Kolat's off-the-mat challenges at the highest level. The format of the Olympic tournament placed athletes in pools, where only the winner of the pool could advance into the championship bracket. Kolat drew two top wrestlers in his pool, 1998 World champion Mohammed Talaei of Iran and Islamov.
Kolat opened against Talaie and scored a 3-1 overtime win. However, the bout was protested, and once again overturned, forcing a re-wrestled match between the wrestlers. This time, Talaie scored five straight early points and edged Kolat, 5-4. Kolat then pinned Islamov in the next match, which would help in any tie-breaking procedure. However, when Islamov was scheduled to face Talaie, Islamov did not appear for the match, dropping the bout by injury default. Talaie won the pool, while Kolat was eliminated and placed ninth in the tournament.
After 2001, FILA and the IOC dropped the number of weight classes from eight to seven. Kolat would have to compete at either 132 pounds or 145.5 pounds. He wrestled in a few more events, but did not try out for more U.S. World or Olympic teams. Kolat's official record will reflect two World medals and one Olympic appearance. However, those in the sport will remember that he lost a finals match in a controversial manner, then had victories overturned in three straight World-level events where, if the initial result had been allowed to stand, he may have won it all.
Tedeev was also disappointed at the 2000 Olympic Games, placing 11th in the standings. However, he continued with another Olympic Games opportunity as his goal. He moved up to the 145.5 pound division and just kept winning. He was a World bronze medalist in 2001, then won his third career World title in 2002. He dropped to sixth in the World in 2003, but returned for his third Olympic appearance at the 2004 Athens Games. Going out as a true champion, Tedeev won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, and then retired from competition.
This popular feature will be changed on a regular basis, allowing members to enjoy many of the greatest matches in wrestling history. Posted in the archive section of the Members Only web page was the 1998 Lincoln McIlravy vs. Daniel Igali bronze medal match at 69 kg/152 lbs. at the World Championships in Tehran, Iran. Many other entertaining and historic matches are in the archive section for the Bout of the Week.