Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 31, 1996
Date Finished: August 1, 1996
Format: Single-elimination tournament with classification rounds for placements.
Bulgaria’s Valentin Yordanov had won the World Championships in 1993-95 and came to Atlanta as a heavy favorite. Since 1982 he had won seven World Championships and seven European Championships. It was hard to know what to think of his favorite status, however, as he had also been an overwhelming favorite in both Seoul (1988) and Barcelona (1992), but had finished only eighth and third, respectively. In Atlanta Yordanov won all his preliminary round matches and met Azerbaijani Namiq Abdullayev, the 1994-95 European Champion, in the final, which was desparately close. The match went into overtime but Yordanov finally got his gold medal, winning with a 1-point takedown at 6:29. Abdullayev would return and win the gold medal at Sydney in 2000.
When the IOC initially voted to eliminate wrestling from the Olympic Program in 2013, Yordanov returned his gold medal to the IOC in protest of the decision, which was later reversed. Yordanov took back his gold medal.
|5||Gholam Reza Mohammadi||25||Iran||IRI|
|11||Lou Rosselli||26||United States||USA||6||7|