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| Event type

Heavyweight, Freestyle (≤96 kilograms), Men

Date12 August 2012
StatusOlympic
LocationExCeL, Newham, London (North Arena 2)
Participants17 from 17 countries
FormatSingle elimination tournament. Competitors losing to the finalists entered repechage tournament for bronze medals.

Reza Yazdani of Iran was the reigning World Champion in men’s heavyweight freestyle wrestling, but he had also found success as a light-heavyweight earlier in his career, with two World Championship bronze medals (2006 and 2007) and an Asian Games title from 2006. He had switched to heavyweight in 2010 and again won a gold medal in the Asian Games, as well as at that year’s Asian Championships. Yazdani was a favorite, but he was expected to be challenged by Abdusalam Gadisov who, as the 2012 European Champion, represented the strong Russian presence in this event, as Russian wrestlers had won the past two Olympics. These two were the favorites and, when they were drawn into the same bracket, the question of who would challenge for gold remained an elusive one.

Yazdani and Gadisov met in the 1/8th finals, where Yazdani emerged victorious and moved on to the semi-finals, where he experienced intense pain from an old knee injury in the first period fight against Valeriy Andriitsev of Ukraine and had to be taken out of the arena in a wheelchair. Andriitsev was the runner-up at the most recent European Championships and met Jake Varner of the United States in the gold medal match, who was a bronze medalist from the 2011 World Championships. The two were ferocious, but evenly-matched, in the final but Varner was able to score just one point in each period to earn the Olympic crown.

The first bronze medal bout was contested between Kurban Kurbanov of Uzbekistan, 2011 Asian Champion, runner-up at the 2010 Asian Games, and bronze medalist at the 2007 World Championships, and Giorgi Gogshelidze of Georgia, a former competitor for Russia who was a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, 2001 World Champion, and 2008 European Champion among a host of other accolades. Kurbanov managed to push Gogshelidze out of the ring in the first period to win it, but the Georgian got his revenge by scoring four unanswered points in the first minute of the second round. In the final period, Gogshelidze continued to be dominant and evoked little response from the Uzbek, winning the bronze medal with a score of 2-0. The battle for the final podium spot would ostensibly have been between Yazdani and the winner of repêchage round two but, with the Iranian injured, the true deciding match was the repêchage, fought between Rustam Iskandari of Tajikistan, a rookie, and Xetaq Qazyumov of Azerbaijan, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, 2010 World Champion, 2009 world runner-up, and thrice European Champion (2009-2011). Qazyumov was the overwhelming favorite and did not disappoint; although Iskandari scored the first point, he was not able to repeat it, losing 1-3 and 0-3 to give the Azerbaijani his second Olympic bronze.

PosWrestlerNOC
1Jake VarnerUSAGold
2Valeriy AndriitsevUKRSilver
=3Xetaq QazyumovAZEBronze
=3Giorgi GogshelidzeGEOBronze
=5Reza YazdaniIRI
=5Kurban KurbanovUZB
7Magomed MusayevKGZ
8Takao IsokawaJPN
9Abdusalam GadisovRUS
10Khetag PlievCAN
11Nicolai CebanMDA
12Rustam IskandariTJK
13Javier CortinaCUB
=14Taymuraz TigiyevKAZ
=14Sinivie BolticNGR
16Serhat BalcıTUR
17Ruslan SheikhauBLR
DNSNathaniel TuamoheloaASA
DNSSaleh EmaraEGY

Round One (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to round two. Losers to eventual finalists advanced to repêchage round one.

Match #1 Giorgi GogshelidzeGEO Bye
Match #2 Saleh EmaraEGY Bye
Match #3 Nicolai CebanMDA Bye
Match #4 Sinivie BolticNGR Bye
Match #5 Khetag PlievCAN Bye
Match #6 Javier CortinaCUB Bye
Match #7 Jake VarnerUSA Bye
Match #8 Kurban KurbanovUZB Bye
Match #9 Valeriy AndriitsevUKR Bye
Match #10 Rustam IskandariTJK Bye
Match #11 Xetaq QazyumovAZE Bye
Match #12 Ruslan SheikhauBLR Bye
Match #13 Reza YazdaniIRI Bye
Match #14 Abdusalam GadisovRUS Taymuraz TigiyevKAZ Decision (2 - 1)
Match #15 Magomed MusayevKGZ Serhat BalcıTUR Decision (3 - 1)
Match #16 Takao IsokawaJPN Nathaniel TuamoheloaASA Injury (–)

Round Two (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to quarter-finals. Losers to eventual finalists advanced to repêchage round one.

Match #1 Giorgi GogshelidzeGEO Saleh EmaraEGY Walkover
Match #2 Nicolai CebanMDA Sinivie BolticNGR Decision (2 - 1)
Match #3 Khetag PlievCAN Javier CortinaCUB Decision (3 - 4)
Match #4 Jake VarnerUSA Kurban KurbanovUZB Decision (2 - 1)
Match #5 Valeriy AndriitsevUKR Rustam IskandariTJK Decision (6 - 1)
Match #6 Xetaq QazyumovAZE Ruslan SheikhauBLR Decision by shutout (2 - 0)
Match #7 Reza YazdaniIRI Abdusalam GadisovRUS Decision (6 - 4)
Match #8 Magomed MusayevKGZ Takao IsokawaJPN Decision (3 - 1)

Quarter-Finals (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to semi-finals. Losers to eventual finalists advanced to repêchage round two.

Match #1 Giorgi GogshelidzeGEO Nicolai CebanMDA Decision by shutout (2 - 0)
Match #2 Jake VarnerUSA Khetag PlievCAN Decision by shutout (2 - 0)
Match #3 Valeriy AndriitsevUKR Xetaq QazyumovAZE Decision (5 - 2)
Match #4 Reza YazdaniIRI Magomed MusayevKGZ Decision (6 - 2)

Semi-Finals (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to final. Losers advanced to repêchage final.

Match #1 Jake VarnerUSA Giorgi GogshelidzeGEO Decision (2 - 2)
Match #2 Valeriy AndriitsevUKR Reza YazdaniIRI Injury (1:17)

Repêchage Round One (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to repêchage round two.

Match #1 Kurban KurbanovUZB Bye
Match #2 Rustam IskandariTJK Bye

Repêchage Round Two (12 August 2012)

Winner of each match advanced to repêchage final.

Match #1 Kurban KurbanovUZB Khetag PlievCAN Decision (5 - 1)
Match #2 Xetaq QazyumovAZE Rustam IskandariTJK Decision (6 - 1)

Repêchage Final (12 August 2012)

Match #1 Giorgi GogshelidzeGEO Kurban KurbanovUZB Decision (6 - 1)
Match #2 Xetaq QazyumovAZE Reza YazdaniIRI Injury (–)

Final Round (12 August 2012)

Match 1/2 Jake VarnerUSA Valeriy AndriitsevUKR Decision by shutout (2 - 0)