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|