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Last second takedown lifts Steveson to gold medal victory

American Gable Steveson celebrates after his last-second victory Friday at the Olympic Games.

Wrestling coaches are always harping on their younger wrestlers to compete until the last whistle. And how many spin drills have wrestlers done throughout their careers in practice?

These fundamental aspects of wrestling helped American Gable Steveson win his first Olympic gold medal Friday in Japan.

Trailing by one, Steveson kept wrestling and moving to secure a two-point takedown with less than a second remaining to beat three-time world champion Geno Petriashvili of Georgia in the freestyle gold medal final at 125 kilograms (275 pounds).

Two-time world champion Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y) won a bronze medal at 74 kg (163 pounds), shutting out two-time world champion Frank Chamizo of Italy, 5-0 while 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Snyder (State College, Pa.) will get a chance to repeat as Olympic champion after earning a spot in the gold-medal finals at 97 kg (213 pounds).

Steveson, the 21-year-old rising senior at the University of Minnesota, continued his magical run through the Olympic tournament with his last-second victory.

Steveson got the first point of his gold medal final when Petriashvili was placed on the shot clock and could not score. He added a high single leg takedown with a powerful trip to lead 3-0. Add in another step out and Steveson led 4-0 at the end of the first period.

Petriashvili got it going in the second period. He scored on a counter crotch lift for two, but Steveson reversed him to make the score 5-2. Then Petriashvili put his size to work. After a takedown, Petriashvili powered Steveson over with two gut wrenches to make it 8-5.

With time running out, Steveson got a spin behind takedown to close to 8-7. Only seconds remained when they returned to their feet.

Gable Steveson battles with three-time world champion Geno Petriashvili Friday in the gold medal final at 125 kg. (Tony Rotundo photo courtesy United World Wrestling)

Just before the buzzer, Steveson somehow got another go behind takedown for a stunning 9-8 last second victory. His pressure got Petriashvili down on his knees on the mat. Steveson kept his head on his back and spun behind him – like the spinning drill most wrestlers do in practice – to get the two points and the gold medal.

The Georgian corner challenged, but to no avail, and Gable got another point for the failed protest. Just moments away from defeat, the scoreboard read 10-8 for the young American.

And now the whole world has seen the Gable Steveson victory back flip, as the big man soared above the blue Olympic Games mat.

On Thursday, Steveson opened with a 10-0 technical fall over Aiaal Lazarev of Kyrgyzstan, then controlled 2016 Olympic champion and two-time world champion Taha Akgul of Turkey, 8-0 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, he secured a 5-0 win over Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur of Mongolia.

NBC’s coverage: Final 10 seconds of Steveson’s gold medal bout

Dake wins bronze medal

In his bronze medal match, Dake secured two step outs for a 2-0 lead. When Chamizo was put on the shot clock, Dake was able to hit a counter throw for two points and a 5-0 lead. Chamizo could not get any serious shots, and Dake scored another step out with 10 seconds left for the

In their most recent meeting, Dake edged Chamizo, 4-3, in the featured match on a FloWrestling card in July of 2020 during the pandemic.

On Thursday, Dake had a 4-0 opening win over Mostafa Hosseinkhani of Iran. In the quarterfinals, 2020 European champion Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau of Belarus scored an 11-0 technical fall over Dake. When Kadzimahamedau defeated Chamizo in the semifinals,

Dake was pulled back into repechage. In his Friday morning repechage bout, Dake scored a 10-0 technical fall over four-time world medalist Jeandry Garzon Caballero of Cuba.

Snyder goes for second gold medal

2016 Olympic champion Kyle Snyder (State College, Pa.) will get a chance to repeat as Olympic champion after earning a spot in the gold-medal finals.

In the semifinals, Snyder was in control throughout on the way to a 5-0 decision over 2020 European champion Suleyman Karadeniz of Turkey. Snyder scored four points on push outs, and received his other point when Karadeniz was placed on the shot clock and could not score.

Snyder will face his archrival, another 2016 Olympic champion and four-time World champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). At the 2016 Olympics, Snyder was the 97 kg champion, while Sadulaev won at 86 kg.

Sadulaev moved up to 97 kg in 2017 and reached the world finals, where Snyder defeated him. In the finals of the 2018 World Championships, Sadulaev scored a first-period pin over Snyder.

Snyder won two Friday morning matches to qualify for the semifinals. He opened with a 12-2 technical fall win over Jordan Steen of Canada. In the quarterfinals, Snyder shut out Italy’s Abraham Conyedo Ruano, 6-0.

Content from USA Wrestling is included in this report

2021 Olympic Games
At Tokyo
Men’s freestyle results
125 kg – Gable Steveson (Minneapolis, Minn.), Gold medal
WIN Aiaal Lazarev (Kyrgyzstan), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Taha Akgul (Turkey), 8-0
WIN Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur (Mongolia), 5-0
WIN Geno Petriashvili (Georgia), 10-8

74 kg – Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y.), Bronze medal
WIN Mostafa Hosseinkhani (Iran), 4-0
LOSS Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau (Belarus), 11-0
WIN Jeandry Garzon Caballero (Cuba), 10-0
WIN Frank Chamizo (Italy), 5-0

97 kg – Kyle Snyder (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)
WIN Jordan Steen (Canada), tech. fall 12-2
WIN Abraham Conyedo Ruano (Italy), 6-0
WIN Suleyman Karadeniz (Turkey), 5-0
Gold Medal Match – Vs. Abdulrashid Sadulaev (ROC)

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