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Wrestling at the 1976 Montréal Summer Games:

Men's Lightweight, Freestyle

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Maurice Richard Arena, Montréal, Québec; Pierre Charbonneau Centre, Olympic Park, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 27, 1976
Date Finished: July 31, 1976
Format: Scoring by negative points, with negative points given for any result short of a fall. Accumulation of 6 negative points eliminated the wrestler, but a wrestler could not be eliminated after a victory. When three or fewer wrestlers remained, they advanced to a final round, with preliminary results carried forward.

Gold: URS Pavel Pinigin
Silver: USA Butch Keaser
Bronze: JPN Yasaburo Sugawara

Summary

Soviet Pavel Pinigin came in as the favorite, having won the 1975 World Championships and European Championships (as a welterweight), and he won the gold medal in Montréal, but he shouldn’t have. The class was dominated by American Butch Keaser who, before the final round, won one match by superior decision, and the others by falls or disqualifications. He came into the final with 0 bad points, and then defeated Doncho Zhekov by decision, 9-5. The American coaches told Keaser, the 1973 World Champion, that all he needed to do to win the gold medal was to avoid being pinned by Pinigin, so he wrestled defensively and stayed away, losing the match 12-1, but thinking he had still won the gold medal. Unfortunately, the American coaches had it wrong, and the decisive loss gave Pinigin the gold medal, with Kaeser dropping to silver. Pinigin would go on to win World titles again in 1977-78 and placed fourth in 1980 at Moskva as a welterweight.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal RE BP
1 Pavel Pinigin 23 Soviet Union URS Gold
2 Butch Keaser 26 United States USA Silver
3 Yasaburo Sugawara 23 Japan JPN Bronze
4 Doncho Zhekov 23 Bulgaria BUL
5 José Ramos 27 Cuba CUB
6 Tsedendambyn Natsagdorj 32 Mongolia MGL
7 Rami Miron 19 Israel ISR
8 Eberhard Probst 21 East Germany GDR
AC János Kocsis 25 Hungary HUN Eliminated r4/6 7,0
AC Zsigmond Kelevitz 22 Australia AUS Eliminated r4/6 8,0
AC Mohamed Reza Navaie 27 Iran IRI Eliminated r4/6 8,0
AC Gerhard Weisenberger 24 West Germany FRG Eliminated r4/6 8,5
AC Go Jin-Won 19 South Korea KOR Eliminated r3/6 6,0
AC Rafael González 19 Puerto Rico PUR Eliminated r3/6 7,0
AC Sergio Fiszman 20 Argentina ARG Eliminated r3/6 8,0
AC Joe Gilligan 21 Great Britain GBR Eliminated r3/6 8,0
AC Lennart Lundell 22 Sweden SWE Eliminated r3/6 9,0
AC Mehmet Sarı 28 Turkey TUR Eliminated r2/6 6,0
AC Clive Llewellyn 23 Canada CAN Eliminated r2/6 7,0
AC Šaban Sejdi 17 Yugoslavia YUG Eliminated r2/6 7,0
AC Kari Övermark 21 Finland FIN Eliminated r2/6 7,5
AC Ronald Joseph 17 United States Virgin Islands ISV Eliminated r2/6 8,0
AC Segundo Olmedo 28 Panama PAN Eliminated r2/6 8,0
AC Arona Mané Senegal SEN Eliminated r2/6 8,0