Wrestling: U.S. grab last gold, Mongolian strip-off steals show

Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:34pm EDT
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By Mark Trevelyan

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Kyle Snyder of the United States won the last wrestling gold medal of the Rio Olympics on Sunday but Mongolia provided the most vivid drama when two of its coaches stripped off in protest at their man's defeat in an earlier bout.

Snyder fought a cagey, low-scoring contest in the 97 kg category against Azerbaijan's Khetag Goziumov, hanging in to defend his 2-1 lead as his opponent pressed hard in the closing seconds in a bid to lift and throw him.

"He was really strong underneath there. I was like, wow, this guy's really crazy strong in that position. But I wasn't going to let another point go up on that board unless it was me scoring," said the 20-year-old American, who had lost to the same opponent a month earlier.

Azerbaijan were also forced to settle for silver in the earlier 65 kg final, where Russia's Soslan Rakhmonov defeated Toghrul Asgarov.

It took the Russian male wrestlers' total to four golds, two ahead of Cuba, to confirm their pre-eminence in what wrestlers say is one of the oldest sports known to mankind.

With an arcane points system based on immobilizing the opponent on the mat or forcing him out of the ring, wrestling can be a challenge for the uninitiated spectator.

The sport was nearly ejected from the 2020 Games in Tokyo on the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee's executive board, but the IOC later granted it a reprieve.


2016 Rio Olympics - Wrestling - Victory Ceremony - Men's Freestyle 97 kg Victory Ceremony - Carioca Arena 2 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/08/2016. Kyle Snyder (USA) of USA poses with his gold medal. REUTERS/Toru Hanai