Tokyo Olympics: Results from Day Four of the Olympic Wrestling competition, a look at what's next

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

Greetings from … my couch. 

The wrestling competition at the 2020 Olympic Games continued Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning at the Makuhari Messe Hall in Chiba, Japan. Day Four of the tournament, featured matches in all three Olympic disciplines: men's freestyle, women's freestyle, and Greco-Roman.

The first session, on Tuesday night, included repechage matches (think wrestlebacks or consolations) for two Greco-Roman weights (67- and 87-kg) and one women's freestyle weight (62-kg), followed by first-round and quarterfinal action for two men's freestyle weights (57- and 86-kg) and another women's freestyle weight (57-kg).

The second session, which began at 4:15 a.m. CST, featured semifinal matches for the same two men's freestyle weights (57- and 86-kg) and women's freestyle weight (57-kg), followed by medal matches and gold-medal finals for the same Greco-Roman weights (67- and 87-kg) and women's freestyle weight (62-kg).

I stayed up to watch the action from my couch so you didn't have to. Below are final updates from Day Four of the competition, including how each American wrestler did, a quick glance back at the first three days of the Olympic wrestling competition, a quick lookahead to Day Five, and other important information.

Follow along with more live coverage:2020 Tokyo Olympics: Wrestling updates, results and U.S. matchups on Day Five

American wrestler results from Day 4 of the Olympics

Three American wrestlers took the mat Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Here's how they did:

Thomas Gilman, Men’s Freestyle, 57-kg — 0-1

  • First Round: 5-4 loss to Zaur Uguev (Russia)
  • Up Next, Repechage: vs. Gulomjon Abdullaev (Uzbekistan)

The bad news: Gilman's lone match on Tuesday was a heart-breaker. He rallied from a 3-1 hole thanks to a step-out and a late takedown on the edge to lead 4-3 with less than a minute left. Then Uguev, a two-time defending world champ, scored a crafty 2-point exposure in the finals seconds to snatch the win from Gilman and advance.

The good news: because Uguev reached the finals — he beat Uzbekistan's Gulomjon Abdullaev, 6-6 on criteria, in the quarterfinals, then beat Iran's Reza Atri, 8-3, in the semifinals — Gilman was pulled into the repechage, and will get a shot at bronze on Wednesday. That's how it works at the Olympics and world championships: if you lose, the guy you lost to has to make the finals in order for you to wrestle back.

Gilman now has that opportunity. He'll face Abdullaev on Wednesday night. Win there, and he'll advance to the bronze-medal match against Atri. Uguev will wrestle India's Kumar Ravi in the gold-medal match.

More:Thomas Gilman loses first Olympic wrestling match in Tokyo, stays in contention for bronze medal

David Taylor, Men's Freestyle, 86-kg — 3-0

  • First Round: 11-0 win over Ali Shabanau (Belarus)
  • Quarterfinals: 12-2 win over Myles Amine (San Marino)
  • Semifinals: 10-0 win over Deepak Punia (India)
  • Up Next, Finals: vs. Hassan Yazdani (Iran)

Taylor is considered a strong favorite at these Games, and he showed why with his first three matches, registering three technical falls by a combined 33-2. He was spectacular, putting his gas tank on display as he navigated a decorated field of opponents.

Ali Shabanau is a four-time world medalist, and Taylor led 3-0 after the first period, scored two takedowns for 7-0, then ended it with a 4-point takedown in 4 minutes, 5 seconds.

In the quarterfinals, Taylor beat a familiar foe — Myles Amine is an All-American wrestler for Michigan who is reppin' San Marino. Amine beat Colombia's Carlos Izquierdo, 12-2, in his opener, then scored the first takedown against Taylor in the quarters. In response, Taylor rattled off 12 unanswered points to win 12-2 and reach the semifinals.

There, Taylor continued his onslaught, defeating India's Deepak Punia, a 2019 world silver-medalist, by a 10-0 technical fall. Taylor took a 3-0 lead after a shot-clock point and takedown in the first period. A couple of turns made it 7-0, then another takedown made it 9-0, and a step-out point closed it down … all in the first period.

Taylor will get his toughest test yet in the finals on Thursday morning: Iran's Hassan Yazdani, a 2016 Olympic champ and two-time world champ. Yazdani was equally as impressive on his way to the final, outscoring his three opponents 30-4. They've met twice previously, at the 2017 World Cup and the 2018 world championships. Taylor won both times. It will be a highly-anticipated finals match. You don't want to miss it.

David Taylor reacts after his victory at 86 kg in the finals during the fourth session of the USA Wrestling Olympic Team Trials, Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

Helen Maroulis, Women's Freestyle, 57-kg — 2-1

  • First Round: 8-4 win over Rong Ningning (China)
  • Quarterfinals: 8-0 win over Tetyana Kit (Ukraine)
  • Semifinals: 2-1 loss to Risako Kawai (Japan)
  • Up next, Bronze Medal Match: vs. Fatoumata Camara (Guinea)/Boldsaikhany Khongorzul (Mongolia)

Maroulis opened her quest for a second Olympic gold medal with back-to-back strong performances. She rallied from down 3-0 for an 8-4 win over China's Rong Ningning, a 2018 world champ and 2019 world silver-medalist. Then she blanked Ukraine's Tetyana Kit, a 2015 world bronze medalist, to reach the semifinals.

But Maroulis hit a brick wall against Japan's Risako Kawai and lost, 2-1. All points came via the shot-clock, which is frustrating for wrestling fans. Kawai, who also won Olympic gold in Rio and is a three-time world champ, advances to the gold-medal match, and sent Maroulis to the bronze-medal match as a result.

Maroulis will face the winner of Guinea's Fatoumata Camara and Mongolia's Boldsaikhany Khongorzul on Thursday morning. Kawai will wrestle Belarus' Iryna Kurachkina in the finals.

Other Notable Results

Michigan's Stevan Micic eliminated at 57-kg: Stevan Micic, a three-time NCAA All-American for Michigan, dropped his first-round match to Japan's Yuki Takahashi, 7-0. Takahashi, a 2017 world champ, broke it open with a pair of second-period takedowns and advanced to the quarterfinals. But Takahashi lost to Kazakhstan's Nurislam Sanayev, 4-4 on criteria, in the quarterfinals. That eliminated Micic from the competition.

Iran's Reza Atri storms into semifinals at 57-kg: Atri was one of the surprises of the first session, knocking off two world medalists to reach the semifinals. He beat Turkey's Süleyman Atlı, 3-2, in round one, then Mongolia's Erdenebatyn Bekhbayar, 5-1, in the quarters. Atlı and Bekhbayar have a combined four world medals in the last four years.

The other side of 86-kilos looks tough, too: Taylor wasn't the only one at 86-kg to cruise into the semifinals. Iran's Hassan Yazdani, an Olympic champ in Rio and two-time world champ, won his first two matches by scores of 11-2 and 12-1. He'll meet Russia's Artur Naifonov, 2019 world bronze medalist, who won his first two 6-0 and 12-1.

Three-time world medalist goes down: Nigeria's Odunayo Adekuoroye, a favorite to meet the Maroulis-Kawai winner in the finals, lost her first match. She led 8-0 against Moldova's Anastasia Nichita when Nichita took Adekuoroye to her back for the fall. Then Nichita led Bulgaria's Evelina Nikolova 3-2 in her quarterfinal match when Nikolova went inside trip and took Nichita to her back in the final seconds for a 6-3 victory. Insanity.

More Day Four Olympic wrestling results from Frank Staebler to Yukako Kawai's win 

There were no American wrestlers competing in the final two Greco-Roman weights and other women's freestyle weight that were contested on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here's some notable results from how those weights shook out:

Japan's Yukako Kawai wins women's freestyle gold at 62-kg: Yukako Kawai, the younger sister of Risako Kawai, won gold with a 4-3 win over Kyrgyzstan's Aisuluu Tynybekova on Wednesday morning. Risako Kawai won this weight (well, 63-kg) in Rio, and actually bumped down to 57-kg to give Yukako a shot at her own gold. She came through, going 4-0 and outscoring her opponents 27-7.

Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, brought three women's freestyle wrestlers to these Olympics. Two finished with medals: Tynybekova won silver, and Meerim Zhumanazarova won bronze at 68-kg. The other, Aiperi Medet Kyzy, wrestled for bronze at 76-kg. Those women wrestle hard. Very fun to watch.

Germany's Frank Staebler goes out an Olympic medalist: Staebler, a three-time world champion, won his first Olympic medal on Wednesday morning, defeating Georgia's Ramaz Zoidze, 5-4, in the bronze-medal bout at 67 kilograms. Afterward, Staebler announced his retirement with wrestling's time-honored tradition of leaving his shoes on the mat after his final match.

Staebler is a legend, a gritty competitor who was always a crowd favorite because he was always entertaining. He won world titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018, and missed out on an Olympic medal in both 2012 and 2016. He got it done this week. Kudos to a fantastic career.

Iran's Mohammad Reza Geraei overcomes mayhem, wins Greco gold at 67-kg: When the dust finally settled, Mohammadreza Geraei won Olympic gold at 67 kilograms in Greco-Roman — and survived a combusted bracket in order to do it.

The Greco-Roman 67-kg bracket featured five past world and Olympic medalists, and none of them made the final. In the first round, Cuba's Ismael Borrero, a 2016 Olympic champ and two-time world champ, South Korea's Ryu Han-su, a two-time world champ; and Serbia's Mate Nemeš, a 2019 world bronze medalist all lost. In the quarterfinals, Staebler and Russia's Artem Surkov, a 2018 world champ, both went down.

Geraei prevailed in the end, with wins over Colombia's Julián Horta, 8-0; Staebler, 5-5 on criteria; Zoidze, 6-1; and, in the finals, Ukraine's Parviz Nasibov, 9-1.

Ukraine's Beleniuk goes from silver to gold: Four years ago in Rio, Zhan Beleniuk finished second at the Olympic games. This time, he won gold, defeating Hungary's Viktor Lorincz, 5-1, in the Greco finals at 87 kilograms on Wednesday morning.

Beleniuk, the first Black member of the Ukrainian Parliament, won a world title in 2015, but came up short in the finals in Rio, losing to Russia's Davit Chakvetadze, 9-2. He won another world silver in 2018, then another world title in 2019, paving the way to winning on Wednesday, scoring two gut wrenches in the second period to break a 1-1 tie.

This was actually a rematch of the 2019 world championship match, which Beleniuk won, 2-1, in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Lorincz finished with silver, one day after his brother, Tamas, won Greco-Roman gold at 77 kilograms.

More:At the Tokyo Olympics, Thomas Gilman’s chase for wrestling immortality continues

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Upcoming matchups for Day Five of Olympic wrestling in Tokyo

Three more Americans are set to compete on Wednesday evening in Tokyo. In addition to Gilman wrestling in the repechage at 57 kilograms, Kyle Dake (men's freestyle, 74-kg), Gable Steveson (men's freestyle, 125-kg), and Jacarra Winchester (women's freestyle, 53-kg) will also begin competition.

Below are the draws for Dake, Steveson and Winchester. Dake and Winchester both won world titles in 2019. Steveson won an NCAA title last March and was named a co-winner of the 2021 Hodge Trophy, college wrestling's Heisman Trophy. He shared the honor with Iowa's Spencer Lee.

Olympic wrestling brackets, matchups, results

You can find updated brackets by clicking each weight below:

Men's Freestyle

Women's Freestyle

Greco-Roman

The men's freestyle brackets for 65 kilograms and 97 kilograms and women's freestyle bracket for 50 kilograms will all be drawn after Wednesday night's competition.

Results from USA's Olympic women's freestyle wrestlers

Those in charge decided on contesting one women's freestyle day during each day of the Olympic wrestling competition, and so far, Team USA has put forth a couple of stellar individual performances. Maroulis was the fourth American to wrestle.

Here's how the first three did:

At 76 kilograms, Adeline Gray won silver, going 3-1 overall. After a first-period pin, she registered back-to-back narrow victories to make the final: 6-4 over Turkey's Yasmine Adar in the quarters, and 3-2 over Kyrgyzstan's Aiperi Medet Kyzy in the semifinals.

In the gold-medal match, Gray lost to Germany's Aline Rotter-Focken, 7-3. Rotter-Focken scored a late exposure in the first period, then countered one of Gray's shots with a 4-point takedown in the second to go up 7-0. Gray tried to rally with a step-out point and a takedown, but the deficit proved too much.

At 68 kilograms, Tamyra Mensah-Stock became the second American woman ever to win Olympic wrestling gold, joining Helen Maroulis, who won in 2016. Mensah-Stock went 4-0 and outscored her opponents 34-5 — and she navigated an incredible wave of talent to do it, too.

Mensah-Stock beat Japan's Sara Dosho, the 2016 Olympic champ and 2017 world champ; China's Zhou Feng, 2015 world silver-medalist who beat Mensah-Stock in 2020; Ukraine's Alla Cherkasova, 2018 world champion; and Nigeria star Blessing Oborududu, who powered through her side of the bracket by outscoring her foes 23-6.

At 62 kilograms, Kayla Miracle stumbled in a 3-2 defeat to China's Jia Long in the opening round. Long then lost to Ukraine's Iryna Koliadenko in the quarterfinals, which eliminated Miracle from the competition. She finished 0-1.

Tamyra Mensah-Stock celebrates after defeating Blessing Oborududu in the women's freestyle 68kg final.

Results from USA's Olympic Greco-Roman wrestlers

It was a struggle for the American Greco-Roman wrestlers in Japan. The 4-man squad combined for a 1-5 overall record.

Alejandro Sancho (67-kg) and John Stefanowicz (87-kg) both went 0-1 and weren’t pulled into the repechage. Ildar Hafizov (60-kg) lost to Cuba’s Luis Orta Sanchez, who ultimately won gold. Because he got to the finals, Hafizov was pulled into the repechage, but lost to Russia’s Sergey Emelin, 7-1, and finished 0-2.

G’Angelo Hancock (97-kg) registered the only win for USA, defeating Serbia’s Mikheil Kajaia, 5-1, in the first round. Hancock then lost to Poland’s Tadeusz Michalik, 4-3, in the quarterfinals.

Michalik did not make the finals, losing to Russia’s Musa Evloev, 5-1, in the semifinals, so Hancock was eliminated from the competition. Evloev ultimately won gold, while Michalik won bronze.

The United States last won a Greco-Roman Olympic medal in 2008, when Adam Wheeler won bronze at 96-kg. This makes a third-straight Games without a Greco-Roman medal for Team USA. That's tough.

August 2, 2021: Sergey Emelin (ROC) competes against Ildar Hafizov (USA) in a men's greco-roman 60kg wrestling repechage match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Makuhari Messe Hall A.

Russia leads Olympic Greco-Roman competition with three medals

The Greco-Roman competition concluded on Wednesday, and Russia ultimately led all countries with three medals. Musa Evloev won gold at 97 kilograms, and both Sergey Emelin (57-kg) and Sergey Semenov (130-kg) won bronze.

Six other countries finished with two medals:

  • Cuba won two gold medals: Luisa Orta Sanchez (60-kg) and Mijain Lopez (130-kg);
  • Hungary and Ukraine each won one gold and one silver (Hungary had the Lorincz brothers, Ukraine had Beleniuk and Nasibov);
  • Iran finished with one champ, Geraei, and one bronze medalist, Mohammad Hadi Saravi at 97-kg;
  • Japan won one silver (Kenichiro Fumita, 60-kg) and one bronze (Shohei Yabiku, 77-kg);
  • and Germany finished with two bronze medals, both won on the final day (Staebler and Denis Kudla at 87-kg).

In all, 16 countries were represented in the Greco-Roman medal count this week. 

Russian Olympic Committee's Evloev Musa, bottom, and Armenia's Artur Aleksanyan compete during the men's 97kg Greco-Roman wrestling final match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Chiba, Japan. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Cuba wins two Greco-Roman gold medals

Two Cuban Greco-Roman wrestlers, Luis Orta Sanchez (60-kg) and Mijain Lopez (130-kg) began the Olympic wrestling competition by winning gold medals.

Orta Sanchez went 4-0 against USA's Hafizov, a two-time Olympian; Russia's Sergey Emelin, a 2018 world champ; Moldova's Victor Ciobanu, a 2018 world silver medalist; and Japan's Kenichiro Fumita, a two-time world champ. He outscored those four by a combined 25-4 to win gold.

Lopez became the second wrestler ever to win four Olympic gold medals. He won in Beijing in 2008, London in 2012, Rio in 2016 and again in Tokyo. He went a combined 16-0 across all four tournaments and outscored his opponents by a combined 78-3. This week, he cruised, going 4-0 and outscoring his opponents 24-0.

Lopez joins Japan's Kaori Icho, who won four Olympic golds in women's freestyle from 2004-16.

Cuba's Mijain Lopez Nunez celebrates defeating Georgia's Lakobi Kajaia during the men's 130kg Greco-Roman wrestling final match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Chiba, Japan. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Olympic medal count: How many medals does the U.S. have?

Here's how the United States ranks in the Olympic medal race:

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.