Six months ago Kyle Snyder did not have a Big Ten title, NCAA title, or Olympic Gold medal. Well most college sophomores don't, but Snyder was certainly not your typical student. He shocked the world at 19 when he beat the defending World Champion to become the United States' youngest in history.
Big challenges lay ahead, and Snyder accomplished them successfully it almost doesn't make for a good movie. It's supposed to be tougher to move up to heavyweight so your team can make a run at an NCAA title despite your training being more focused on winning Olympic gold at 213 lbs. It's supposed to be tougher to defeat the defending Olympic champion to win the spot on the team when he is just 29 years old. It's also supposed to be tougher to win gold in Rio when the rest of the world is looking to knock off the young American that shocked them in 2015.
Snyder though completed this 6-month span that is almost unfathomable. He went to Carver-Hawkeye (Yankee Stadium for Wrestling) to win the Big Ten title beating one of the most physical heavyweights out there, then went to Madison Square Garden to defeat the 2-time NCAA Champion, and then went to Rio to beat the World's best. That's nearly unbelievable, but we saw it and we should appreciate it with awe.
Frank Molinaro battled his way to the bronze medal match in Rio. That's the first time America has wrestled for a medal at the 65/66 kg bracket since Doug Schwab did it in 2007. He fell just short as the buzzer sounded right as he was finishing a takedown to win it against the 2015 World Champion. There is plenty of competition domestically for this spot, but Frank is truly world class and is a great option if he continues to win the spot. His toughness, flair, and motivation was very easy for many Americans to root for and I look forward to rooting for him again on the world stage.
It was a very strange day in the arena that hosted Olympic Wrestling. Franklin Gomez (Puerto Rico / Michigan State) appeared to have gotten the go-ahead takedown over Navruzov (Uzbekistan) in his quarterfinal, but the call was changed. Then the review looked like it has went his was, but then that was changed. Three officials were removed for "suspicious officiating". Anyone who knows anything about wrestling sniffed the screw job, but nothing was done that could benefit Gomez.
The same Navruzov was later wrestling in the bronze medal match when he was losing 7-6 to Mongolia. A late passivity call handed him the match causing the Mongolians to go crazy. Their coaches disrobed and threw their clothes at the officials gathering quite the media storm for the spectacle.
There's a lot to digest with how Team USA stacked up in the next few days. I certainly look forward to this week's podcast with Kevin.
65 kg/143 lbs.
Gold – Soslan Ramonov (Russia)
Silver – Toghrul Asgarov (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Frank Chamizo (Italy)
Bronze – Ikhtiyor Navruzov (Uzbekistan)
5th – Frank Molinaro (United States)
5th – Mandakhnaran Ganzorig (Mongolia)
7th – Alejandro Valdes Tobier (Cuba)
8th – Borislav Novachkov (Bulgaria)
9th – Franklin Gomez (Puerto Rico)
10th – Zurabi Iakobishvili (Georgia)
Gold – Soslan Ramonov (Russia) tech. fall Toghrul Asgarov (Azerbaijan), 11-0
Bronze – Frank Chamizo (Italy) dec. Frank Molinaro (United States), 5-3
Bronze – Ikhtiyor Navruzov (Uzbekistan) dec. Mandakhnaran Ganzorig (Mongolia), 8-7
97 kg/213 lbs.
Gold – Kyle Snyder (United States)
Silver – Khetag Goziumov (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Albert Saritov (Romania)
Bronze – Magomed Ibragimov (Uzbekistan)
5th – Elizbar Odikadze (Georgia)
5th – Valerii Andriitsev (Ukraine)
7th – Reza Yazdani (Iran)
8th – Mamed Ibragimov (Kazakhstan)
9th – Magomed Musaev (Kyrgyzstan)
10th – Javier Cortina (Cuba)
Gold – Kyle Snyder (United States) dec. Khetag Goziumov (Azerbaijan), 2-1
Bronze – Albert Saritov (Romania) tech. fall Elizbar Odikadze (Georgia), 10-0
Bronze – Magomed Ibragimov (Uzbekistan) dec. Valerii Andriitsev (Ukraine), 6-4
U.S. men’s freestyle results
65 kg/143 lbs. – Frank Molinaro, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC), 5th
WIN Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (Poland), 2-2
LOSS Toghrul Asgarov (Azerbaijan), 10-0
WIN Andriy Kvyatkovskyy (Ukraine), 8-5
LOSS Frank Chamizo (Italy), 5-3
97 kg/213 lbs. – Kyle Snyder, Woodbine, Md. (Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC), Gold
WIN Javier Cortina (Cuba), 10-3
WIN Albert Saritov (Romania), 7-0
WIN Elizbar Odikadze (Georgia), 9-4
WIN Khetag Goziumov (Azerbaijan), 2-1