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Snyder, Hildebrant each capture Olympic medals

In a battle of Olympic champions, Russian Abdulrashid Sadulaev outduels American Kyle Snyder Saturday in the gold medal final at 97 kilograms. (Martin Gábor photo courtesy United World Wrestling)

On the sixth and final day of wrestling at 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, the U.S. wrestling team picked up two more medals on Saturday night.

Kyle Snyder, who won a gold medal in 2016, made the finals for a second straight Olympiad only to lose a competitive match with another 2016 Olympic champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev of the Russian Olympic Committee at 97 kilograms.

Sadulaev emerged with a 6-3 decision over Snyder in their third meeting in the finals of a world championship tournament or Olympic Games.

In women’s freestyle, Sarah Hildebrant (Colorado Springs, Colo.) won her first Olympic medal with a bronze medal at 50 kilograms (110 pounds).

The Americans finished the week-long tournament with nine medals – three gold, a pair of silver medals and four bronze medals. The Russian Olympic Committee team brought home eight medals (four gold) while host Japan had seven medals including five gold medals.

It is the most medals brought home by the American wrestlers since they won 13 in 1984 in Los Angeles.

Five years ago in Rio, Sadulaev and Snyder won Olympic gold in different weight classes. Snyder won at 97 kg while Sadulaev prevailed at 86 kg. In 2017, Sadulaev moved up a weight class and lost to Synder at the world championships. A year later, it was Sadulaev with the victory at the world championships.

On the Olympic stage on Saturday, Sadulaev got the first point when Snyder was put on the shot clock and did not score in 30 seconds. Sadulaev forced a step out and led 2-0 at the break. In the second period, Sadulaev was able to get a pair of counter tilts on Snyder’s shots, jumping the lead to 6-0. Snyder scored a takedown to make it 6-2, and added a step out to make it 6-3 but was not able to score again in the final 28 seconds of the match.

Snyder won three Friday matches to qualify for finals. 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. His semifinal win was another shutout over 2020 European champion Suleyman Karadeniz of Turkey, 5-0.

American Sarah Hildebrandt is all smiles after winning her first Olympic medal Saturday at 50 kg. (Kadir Caliskan photo courtesy United World Wrestling)

In women’s freestyle, Hildebrandt got her offense going Saturday in the second period, finishing off a 12-2 technical fall over Oksana Livach of Ukraine in the bronze-medal bout.

Livach scored first when Hildebrandt was put on the shot clock and could not score in 30 seconds. In the closing seconds of the opening period, Hildebrandt finished off a shot before the buzzer and went to the break leading 2-1. Hildebrandt got a takedown with 48 seconds left to make it 4-1. She finished strong with a single leg takedown, followed by three ankle laces to complete the technical fall.

On Friday, Hildebrandt opened up with a pair of technical falls. She scored an 11-0 technical fall over Evin Demirhan of Turkey then blitzed 2020 European champion Miglena Selishka of Bulgaria, 12-2. In the semifinals, she was edged by 2013 world champion Sun Yanan of China, in a heartbreaking 10-7 loss where Sun scored a big throw in the closing seconds.

Hildebrandt won her world silver medal at 53 kg in 2018. In 2020, Hildebrandt dropped to 50 kg for her Olympic run, and qualified the USA at the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier right before the pandemic hit. Originally from Granger, Ind., Hildebrandt was a multiple-time national champion at King University.

2021 Olympic Games
At Tokyo

Men’s freestyle
97 kg – Kyle Snyder (State College, Pa.)
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)

Women’s freestyle
50 kg – Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo.), bronze medal
WIN Evin Demirhan (Turkey), tech fall 11-0
WIN Miglena Selishka (Bulgaria), tech fall, 12-2
LOSS Sun Yanan (China), 10-7
WIN Oksana Livach (Ukraine), tech. fall 12-1

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

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