Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 21, 1996
Date Finished: July 22, 1996
Format: Single-elimination tournament with classification rounds for placements.
The Russian bear, Aleksandr Karelin, had not lost a match in nine years and had won the World Championships in 1989-91 and 1993-95, the European Championships from 1988-96, and was a two-time defending gold medalist. The only chink in his armor was that he had undergone shoulder surgery only a few months before the Atlanta Olympics. In the second round he was actually pushed to overtime by Moldovan Sergei Mureico, but Karelin won 2-0. Karelin had only once before needed to go to overtime in an international and that had been against American Matt Ghaffari at the 1993 Worlds. Ghaffari met Karelin in the Atlanta final, with Karelin scoring one point at 1:51, and that was all there was, as neither could score again, Karelin winning his third consecutive gold, 1-0. Karelin would continue to dominate the class, but at Sydney in 2000 he lost in the final to American Rulon Gardner, in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history in any sport.
|2||Matt Ghaffari||34||United States||USA||Silver|
|17||Rashid Bel Aziz||28||Morocco||MAR||1||2|