Hamid Sourian, Iran's Greco-Roman fifty-five kilogram wrestler, added Olympic gold to his five world championship. Hamid doesn't turn twenty-seven for another couple of weeks and his already amazing credentials and youth combine to place him on potential "Greatest Of All Time" trajectory.
Sourian had taken last year off, and looked shaky in competition earlier this year, but today he was clearly the best wrestler in the field at this weight. I think he will rule this weight until he gets old or bored.
Russia's Roman Vlasov might have just announced his status as Russia's newest Greco-Roman superstar. He earned the gold medal today in the seventy-four kilogram weight class. Vlasov is twenty-one years old, and has positioned himself to embark on a legendary wrestling career.
The United States came away with nothing today as Spenser Mango and Ben Provisor failed to place at fifty-five and seventy-four kilograms, respectively. It is hard to say that this is a disspointment, Ben is younger than most college graduates, has never won an international tournament, and simply lost to a better wrestler. His best days are ahead of him and at least he won a match.
I am a little concerned about Mango, who is the best our country has at this weight, has been for a while, is an incredible athlete, but hasn't seemed to close the ground at all against the world's best. I hope he sticks around for another Olympic cycle so that he gives himself the chance to finally turn the corner and stand on an Olympic or world championships podium.
After the jump a large number of awesome animated Greco gifs of the finals. There are gifs aplenty, consider yourself warned.
A brief warning to viewers of the proceeding today, and potential viewers in the future: the rocket scientists who have generated the current rules format for Greco have created an environment which encourages a focus on mat wrestling while providing no incentive for engaging in positive, offensive wrestling from the feet. If the wrestling today seemed a little boring, that is because it is. I am sorry. But there is still much excitement and much to love. At least today's matches were not defined by any egregious reffing errors.
55 Kilogram Medal Matches
Mingiyan Semenov, Russia vs Choi Gyujin, Korea. Bronze Medal Match One
This is the takedown that wins the first period for Semenov. The Korean coaches toss a challenge block in hoping that the judges will call a slip throw by Choi and cancel the takedown. The challenge failed, and rightfully so.
This throw looks cool, but it occurred after the first period ended and didn't count.
This is actually Choi, on top, failing in the lifting Semenov off the mat or exposing his back to the mat, and thus losing the second period. You see Semenov, on bottom, celebrating his bronze medal.
Peter Modos, Hungary vs Haakan Erik Nyblom, Denmark. Bronze Medal Match 2
Two angles of Modos's deciding throw from par terre in the third period of this tightly contested match. Modos wisely holds Nyblom off the mat to kill the rest of the match, and then he launches into an exuberant, backflipping celebration.
This is the absolutely gorgeously executed gutwrench by Sourian used to win the first period in this battle of the last two world champions.
This is the takedown that wins the second period. Bayramov attempts a duckunder, but Sourian catches him on his knees and drives him over with an underhook..Sourian finally has Olympic gold.
74 Kilograms Medal Matches
Mark Overgaad Madsen, Denmark vs Aleksandr Kazakevic, Lithuania. Bronze Medal Match 1
This was a boring match with no action. Madsen pretty much stalled the entire second period, trying to game the rules of par terre tie breakers in the last thirty seconds of scoreless periods. His gambit failed, Kazakevic gutwrenches him from top to win silver.
Aliaksandr Kikiniou, Belarus vs Emin Ahmadov, Azerbaijan. Bronze Medal Match 2
It looked like the refs were going to foul up the call in this match's final flurry of action in the third period, but they got it right in the end. Upon video review, Kikiniou clearly steps out of bounds and a point is rightfully awarded for Ahmadov for the push out. This proved to be the point that won the bronze medal for Ahmadov. The action stops upon the pushout, thus Kikiniou's subsequent take down is irrelevant.
Kikiniou refused to accept the findings of the final video review and would not meet Ahmadov. I suppose he wanted to wrestle the remaining five seconds of the match that were left after the push out, maybe he is right, but his point is academic.
Another very boring match with both periods decided in par terre tie breakers. Vlasov wins the first period with a gutwrench, and wins the second by not getting lifted or turned. Not exciting, but he is a gold medalist nonetheless.
Stay tuned to the site for more wrestling coverage right here and thanks to Zombie Prophet for the GIFs.