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|U.S. falls short of winning Olympic medal on final day of women's freestyle tournament|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Kelsey Campbell battles Azerbaijan’s Yulia Ratkevich on Thursday night. John Sachs photo.
LONDON – The U.S. fell short of winning a medal on the second and final day of the Olympic women’s freestyle competition before a sellout crowd of 6,500 fans on Thursday night at ExCeL North Arena 2.
Kelsey Campbell was defeated by past World champion Yulia Ratkevich of Azerbaijan in the repechage at 55 kg/121 lbs. Ratkevich won 4-0, 1-0.
Campbell falls two wins short of a bronze medal in her first trip to the Olympic Games.
Campbell trailed 1-0 in the first period before firing in with a leg attack late in the two-minute period. Campbell drove Ratkevich near the edge of the mat and appeared to score on a pushout before she was turned for two points.
The officials didn’t award any points to Campbell, but instead gave just two to Ratkevich. U.S. coaches challenged the call, but it was upheld. If Campbell gains the pushout, she wins the period.
Ratkevich scored a takedown midway through the second period and then blocked Campbell off as time ran out.
“I can be upset by that call, but you have to recognize I gave up a point before that,” Campbell said. “It looked like she was out, but you have to decisively beat your opponent and not let it come down to a call. You have to create your own destiny out there.”
U.S. coach Terry Steiner shared a similar view.
“The foot was out, and usually when a foot is out it’s out,” Steiner said. “But you can’t leave matches up to the officials in those situations. We have to take care of business and we didn’t do that today.”
Campbell fell to two-time Olympic champion and nine-time World champion Saori Yoshida of Japan in the first round. Yoshida scored takedowns in the first and second periods to down Campbell, who was fifth in the World at 59 kg/130 lbs. in 2010.
Yoshida won her third Olympic title on Thursday night.
American Ali Bernard dropped her first-round match to past World fifth-place finisher Jenny Fransson of Sweden at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Fransson scored a takedown with one second left in the second period to prevail 3-0, 3-1.
Bernard had beaten Fransson in the 2011 World Championships en route to winning a bronze medal. Bernard was fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games.
“I’m pretty upset,” Bernard said. “I got a second chance and messed it up. I came out and wrestled four minutes and didn’t do the job. I just didn’t have my head in it in the first period and it cost me.”
Bernard was eliminated when Fransson lost to five-time World champion Stanka Zlateva of Bulgaria in the second round.
“Ali was way too conservative,” Steiner said. “It was too much of a chess match. She never got herself opened up. We didn’t do enough to make it happen out there.”
The U.S. women finished with one medal in London after Clarissa Chun earning a bronze medal on Wednesday.
Day 6 of the eight-day Olympic wrestling tournament is scheduled for Friday 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.
American freestyle wrestlers Sam Hazewinkel (Norman, Okla./Sunkist Kids) and Jordan Burroughs (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids) are scheduled to compete on Friday. Hazewinkel wrestles at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Burroughs competes at 74 kg/163 lbs.
Burroughs won a World title in 2011, and is the favorite to win gold in his weight class in London.
ExCeL Center, London, England
Thursday’s medal winners
55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold – Saori Yoshida (Japan)
Silver – Tonya Verbeek (Canada)
Bronze – Jackeline Renteria (Colombia)
Bronze – Yulia Ratkevich (Azerbaijan)
72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Gold – Natalia Vorobieva (Russia)
Silver – Stanka Zlateva (Bulgaria)
Bronze – Gouzel Manyurova (Kazakhstan)
Bronze – Madier Unda Gonzales (Spain)
55 kg/121 lbs.
Saori Yoshida (Japan) dec. Tonya Verbeek (Canada), 3-0, 2-0
72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Natalia Vorobieva (Russia) pinned Stanka Zlateva (Bulgaria), 0-1, 0:46
55 kg/121 lbs. – Kelsey Campbell, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
LOSS Saori Yoshida (Japan), 0-1, 0-1
LOSS Yulia Ratkevich (Azerbaijan), 0-4, 0-1
72 kg/158.5 lbs. – Ali Bernard, New Ulm, Minn. (Gator WC)
LOSS Jenny Fransson (Sweden), 0-3, 1-3