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Taylor wins Olympic freestyle gold medal; Gilman claims Olympic bronze; Steveson to go for gold on Friday

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

David Taylor with his Olympic gold medal; Thomas Gilman with his Olympic bronze medal. Photos by John Sachs,

MAKUHARI, Chiba, Japan – It was a great night for U.S. men’s freestyle wrestling, led by an Olympic gold medal performance by 2018 World champion David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC) at 86 kg at the Makuhari Messe Hall A.

In the most anticipated final by the wrestling community, Taylor scored a takedown with about 15 seconds left on the clock to edge 2016 Olympic champion and two-time World champion Hassan Yazdani Charati of Iran, 4-3.

Yazdani got the first point when Taylor was placed on the shot clock and could not score in 30 seconds, which was the score at the break. Taylor was hit with a caution and one point penalty on the edge to give Yazdani a 2-0 lead. A Taylor takedown made it 2-2, with Taylor holding the criteria at the time. Yazdani forced a stepout with 1:30 left to lead 4-3. As time was running out, Taylor hit a double leg takedown for the winning points.

Taylor had beaten Yazdani in their last showdown in the first round of the 2018 World Championships which Taylor finished off with his first World title. Taylor missed the 2019 season with a knee injury, and Yazdani Charati came back to win the World title that season.

On Wednesday morning, Taylor scored three dominant technical falls. In the first round, Taylor dismantled four-time World medalist Ali Shabanau of Belarus, 11-0. In the quarterfinals, Taylor took out the No. 3 seed, American-born Myles Amine of San Marino, 12-2.In the semifinals, he dispatched 2019 World silver medalist and No. 2 seed Deepak Punia of India, 10-0.

In 2018, Taylor won gold in his first World Championships appearance and was named UWW’s Men’s Freestyle Wrestler of the Year. Taylor’s comeback began in 2020 when he earned gold at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier to qualify the USA for the Tokyo Games. Taylor hails from St. Paris, Ohio, and competed collegiately at Penn State.

2017 World silver medalist Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC) added an Olympic bronze medal at 57 kg with an impressive 9-1 victory over Reza Atrinagharchi of Iran.

Gilman jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first period, with a pair of takedowns and a push out. In the second period, Gilman kept up the pace, adding two more takedowns and only giving up a stepout.

Earlier in the day, Gilman make quick work of Gulomjon Abdullaev of Uzbekistan in his repechage match, with an 11-1 technical fall, which placed him in the bronze-medal bout.

On Wednesday, Gilman dropped a heartbreaking 5-4 decision to two-time defending World champion and No. 2 seed Zaur Uguev of ROC in the opening round. The match was not decided until the end, when Ugaev scored an exposure with five seconds left to win.

Gilman won his silver medal at the 2017 Senior Worlds in Paris, and placed fifth at the 2018 World Championships. He qualified the USA for the Olympics at the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier. Originally from Omaha, Neb., Gilman was a star for the University of Iowa.

Earlier in the evening session, Gable Steveson (Minneapolis, Minn./Gopher WC RTC) earned a spot in Friday’s gold medal finals at 125 kg, after securing a 5-0 win over 2019 U23 World bronze medalist Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur of Mongolia in the semifinals.

Steveson scored a takedown in the first period to lead 2-0. He added a point when Munkhtur was put on the shot clock and could not score in 30 seconds. In the final 10 seconds, Steveson added another takedown for his margin of victory.

Steveson will battle three-time World champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Geno Petriashvili of Georgia in the gold medal finals, which are scheduled to being at 7:30 p.m. local time in Japan (6:30 a.m. in U.S. Eastern time zone).

Thursday morning, Steveson opened with a 10-0 technical fall over Aiaal Lazarev of Kyrgyzstan, then shocked 2016 Olympic champion and two-time World champion Taha Akgul of Turkey, 8-0 in the quarterfinals.

Just 21 years old, Steveson had a great age-group career, including 2015 and 2016 Cadet World titles as well as a 2017 Junior World gold. He won the NCAA Div. I title this year in March, then made the U.S. Olympic Team in April with a win over two-time Senior World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski in the finals.

Two-time World champion Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y./Spartan Combat WC/Titan Mercury WC) will compete in the 74 kg repechage on Friday morning against four-time World medalist Jeandry Garzon Caballero of Cuba.

When 2020 European champion Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau of Belarus defeated two-time World champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Frank Chamizo of Italy, 9-7 in the semifinals, Dake became eligible for repechage.

Dake had a 4-0 opening win over 2016 World bronze medalist Mostafa Hosseinkhani of Iran. In the quarterfinals, Kadzimahamedau scored a shocking 11-0 technical fall over Dake.

Dake won 2018 and 2019 World titles at 79 kg, and beat 2012 Olympic champion and four-time World champion Jordan Burroughs to make the U.S. Olympic team. Originally from Ithaca, N.Y., Dake competed collegiately at Cornell, where he became the first athlete in NCAA history to win four national titles at four different weight classes.

Combined with the women’s weight class contested this evening, with Helen Maroulis winning a bronze medal at 57 kg, the U.S. won three medals during the evening. Overall, the USA has won five wrestling medals so far, with a sixth guaranteed when Steveson competes in the finals on Friday.

Also to note was the 86 kg bronze medal won by Myles Amine of San Marino, who competed for the Univ. of Michigan and was raised in the United States. He becomes his nation’s first Olympic wrestling medalist, beating World silver medalist Deepak Punia of India, 4-2 in the finals.


At Makuhari, Chiba, Japan, August 5

Group One U.S. men’s freestyle results

57 kg – Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC), bronze medal

LOSS Zaur Uguev (Russia), 5-4

WIN Gulomjon Abdullaev (Uzbekistan), tech fall 11-1

WIN Reza Atrinagharchi (Iran), 9-1

86 kg – David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC), gold medal

WIN Ali Shabanau (Belarus), tech. fall 11-0

WIN Myles Amine (San Marino), tech fall 12-2

WIN Deepak Punia (India), tech. fall 10-0

WIN Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran), 4-3

Group 1 men’s freestyle final results

57 kg -

Gold - Zavur Ugaev (Russia)

Silver - Kumar Ravi (India)

Bronze - Nurislam Sanayev (Kazakhstan)

Bronze - Thomas Gilman (USA)

5th - Reza Atrinagharchi (Iran)

5th - Georgi Vangelov (Bulgaria)

7th - Gulomjon Abdullaev (Uzbekistan)

8th - Yuki Takahashi (Japan)

9th - Bekhbayar Erdenbat (Mongolia)

10th - Oscar Eduardo Tigeros Urbano (Colombia)

Gold - Zavur Ugaev (Russia) dec. Kumar Ravi (India), 7-4

Bronze – Thomas Gilman (USA) dec. Reza Atrinagharchi (Iran), 9-1

Bronze - Nurislam Sanayev (Kazakhstan) dec. Georgi Vangelov (Bulgaria), 5-1

86 kg -

Gold - David Taylor (USA)

Silver - Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran)

Bronze - Artur Naifonov (ROC)

Bronze - Myles Amine (San Marino)

5th - Deepak Punia (India)

5th - Javrail Shapiev (Uzbekistan)

7th - Lin Zushen (China)

8th - Stefan Reichmuth (Switzerland)

9th - Osman Gocen (Turkey)

10th - Sohsuke Takatani (Japan)

Gold – David Taylor (USA) dec. Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran), 4-3

Bronze – Myles Amine (San Marino) dec. Deepak Punia (India), 4-2

Bronze - Artur Naifonov (ROC) dec. Javrail Shapiev (Uzbekistan), 2-0

Group Two U.S. men’s freestyle results

74 kg - Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y./Spartan Combat WC/Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Mostafa Hosseinkhani (Iran), 4-0

LOSS Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau (Belarus), 11-0

Repechage - vs. Jeandry Garzon Caballero (Cuba)

125 kg - Gable Steveson (Minneapolis, Minn./Gopher WC RTC)

WIN Aiaal Lazarev (Kyrgyzstan), tech. fall 10-0

WIN Taha Akgul (Turkey), 8-0

WIN Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur (Mongolia)

Gold Medal finals – vs. Geno Petriashvili (Georgia)

Group Two men’s freestyle finals pairings

74 kg – Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau (Belarus) vs. Zaurbek Sidakov (Russia)

125 kg – Geno Petriashvili (Georgia) vs. Gable Steveson (USA)

Group two men's freestyle semifinal results

74 kg

Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau (Belarus) dec. Frank Chamizo (Italy), 9-7

Zaurbek Sidakov (Russia) tech. fall Daniar Kaisanov (Kazakhstan), 11-0

125 kg

Geno Petriashvili (Georgia) dec. Amir Hossein Zare (Iran), 6-3

Gable Steveson (USA) dec. Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur (Mongolia), 5-0