Who's the best freestyle wrestler? Maybe 'The Russian Tank'
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) American Jordan Burroughs' stunning loss in Friday's Olympic wrestling tournament re-opened the debate over the world's best pound-for-pound freestyle competitor.
''The Russian Tank'' just might be next in line.
Abdulrashid Sadulaev is 20 years old and a two-time world champion. He captured his first Olympic title Saturday at the Rio Games.
Sadulaev rolled past Turkey's Selim Yasar 5-0 for his third consecutive world title and his third gold at the Rio Games.
Sadulaev was as dominant as any wrestler had been in Rio yet, outscoring his opponents 28-1 in clinching his fifth straight world championship dating to his days in junior competitions.
''Of course (I think) I'm the championship favorite,'' Sadulaev said. ''But this is the Olympics. It's full of surprises.''
Not for Sadulaev, who scored on a pair of two-point moves late in the first period in beating Yasar in the world final for the second year in a row.
American J'Den Cox, beaten by Yasar in a somewhat baffling loss in the semifinals, scored a takedown with six seconds left to win bronze and give the U.S. its first freestyle medal of these games.
HEAVYWEIGHT: MEDAL ALERT: Turkish heavyweight Taha Akgul won the gold medal, beating Iran's Komeil Ghasemi 3-1 Saturday to become just the third wrestler from Turkey to win Olympic gold in freestyle. Akgul has now won three consecutive world titles after finishing just ninth at the London Games. Akgul was nearly as impressive as Sadulaev was, notching two technical falls and an 8-1 to reach the finals.
COX MAKES UP FOR MISCUE: Cox, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Missouri, made a surprise run to the semifinals - where confusion contributed to his defeat. Yasar scored first by successfully defending after Cox had been put on the shot clock for passivity. Cox tied the score at 1-all on a push out and didn't wrestle aggressively after that because he thought he held the tiebreaker as the last wrestler to score. But the edge actually went to Yasar because of rules designed to encourage action, and Cox lost a challenge and the match 2-1. ''I honestly didn't know I was losing,'' Cox said. Cox redeemed himself in his bronze-medal match, scoring to beat the shot clock against Cuba's Reineris Salas Perez - a move that was ruled scoreless on the mat but overturned on review. Sala Perez refused to return and was disqualified. ''I don't think it was as much about redemption as much as it was just something I had to do,'' Cox said.
DLAGNEV'S DAY: Like Cox, American heavyweight Tervel Dlagnev went further than many thought he would before being stopped a match before the gold-medal bout. Dlagnev is an experienced heavyweight who was fifth at the London Games, but back trouble that nearly ended his career the week of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials figured to limit his chances in Rio. Dlagnev won two matches, Ghasemi got him on four consecutive gut wrenches, all two-pointers, for a 10-0 win. Dlagnev also fell 10-0 in the bronze medal match, likely his last in international competition.