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Late takedown lifts David Taylor to gold medal victory

American David Taylor celebrates after winning his first gold medal at 87 kilograms at the Olympic Games Thursday night. (Kadir Caliskan photo courtesy United World Wrestling)

American wrestler David Taylor made his golden move with about 15 seconds left in regulation.

Trailing by a point, he got a two-point takedown to take the lead and beat 2016 Olympic champion Hassan Yazdani Charati of Iran, 4-3 to win the gold medal at 86 kilograms (189 pounds) on Thursday night at the Olympic Games in Japan.

American Gable Steveson (Minnesota) earned a spot in the gold medal final at 125 kg (275 pounds) on Friday morning here on the East Coast while Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa.) and Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md.) earned bronze medals in action on Thursday.  Steveson’s match should begin around 6:30 a.m. on The Olympic Channel.

In one of the most anticipated finals of the tournament, Yazdani, a two-time world champion, 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 (State College, Pa.) 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.

Taylor hails from St. Paris, Ohio, and competed collegiately at Penn State.

American David Taylor, right in blue singlet, works for a takedown in Thursday night’s gold medal match at the Olympics. (Tony Rotundo photo courtesy United World Wrestling)

Bronze for Gilman
Gilman added  an Olympic bronze medal at 57 kg (125 pounds) 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.

Steveson advances to gold medal final
Earlier in the evening session, Gable Steveson (Minneapolis, Minn.) earned a spot in Friday’s gold medal finals at 125 kg (285 pounds), after securing a 5-0 win over 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.

Dake gets second chance in repechage
Two-time world champion Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y.) will compete in the 74 kg (163 pounds) 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 Mostafa Hosseinkhani of Iran. In the quarterfinals,  Kadzimahamedau scored a shocking 11-0 technical fall over Dake.

At 86 kilogmeters, a bronze medal was won by Myles Amine of San Marino, who competed for the University 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.

Maroulis wins second Olympic medal
2016 Olympic champion Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md.) made history again on Thursday night. She has now become the first U.S. woman to win two Olympic wrestling medals, after capturing the bronze medal at 57 kg (125 pounds).

Maroulis was dominant in her medal match, scoring an impressive 11-0 technical fall over Khongorzul Boldsaikhan of Mongolia. Maroulis scored two first-period takedowns to lead 4-0 at the break. In the second period, Maroulis got a point on a caution against Boldsaikhan, then added three more takedowns to end the match.

Maroulis opened her tournament with an impressive 8-4 over 2018 sorld champion Ningning Rong from China. In the quarterfinals, Maroulis shut out Tetyana Kit of Ukraine, 8-0. In the semifinals, she was edged by 2016 Olympic champion Risako Kawai of Japan, 2-1, in a bout where no technical points were scored. Kawai went on to win her second Olympic gold medal.

Winchester still alive in tournament
2019 world champion Jacarra Winchester (Colorado Springs, Colo.) has been drawn back into Friday’s repechage rounds on Friday, where she will face Laura Herin Avila of Cuba.

No. 4 seed Pang Qianyu of China scored a takedown with six seconds left on the clock to defeat two-time World champion Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarus in the semifinals, 2-2. Winchester had lost a 5-1 decision to Pang in the quarterfinals, and when Pang reached the finals, Winchester was back into the tournament.

Winchester opened with a 7-4 win over 2019 World bronze medalist Olga Khoroshavtseva of Russia.

2021 Olympic Games
At Tokyo
Men’s freestyle

57 kg – Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa), 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), 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

74 kg – Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y)
WIN Mostafa Hosseinkhani (Iran), 4-0
LOSS Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau (Belarus), 11-0
Repechage – vs. Jeandry Garzon Caballero (Cuba)

125 kg – Gable Steveson (Minneapolis, Minn)
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)

Women’s freestyle

57 kg – Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md.), bronze medal
WIN Ningning Rong (China), 8-4
WIN Tetyana Kit (Ukraine), 8-0
LOSS Risako Kawai (Japan), 2-1
WIN Khongorzul Boldsaikhan (Mongolia), tech fall, 11-0

53 kg – Jacarra Winchester (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
WIN Olga Khoroshavtseva (Russia), 7-4
LOSS Pang Qianyu (China), 5-1
Repechage – Laura Herin Avila (Cuba)

Connecticut Wrestling Online has been covering the sport of wrestling in Connecticut and New England since 2001.

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