Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): ExCeL, Newham, London
Date Started: August 6, 2012
Date Finished: August 6, 2012
Format: Single elimination tournament. Competitors losing to the finalists entered repechage tournament for bronze medals.
|Bronze:|| Damian Janikowski
The favorites going into the men’s light-heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestling tournament were Hristo Marinov of Bulgaria, the 2010 World Champion, and Damian Janikowski of Poland, the 2011 World Championship silver medalist. Alim Selimov of Belarus was the reigning World Champion, a title he had held in 2005 as well, but was inconsistent on the world stage and not considered too dangerous in London. The tournament also had its share of Olympic veterans vying for the crown, including Egypt’s Karam Gaber, the 2004 Olympic champion in the heavyweight division, and Turkey’s Nazmi Avluca, who had made appearances at the 1996, 2000, and 2008 editions of the Games, the latter of which netted him a bronze medal. Nonetheless, it was expected that Marinov and Janikowski would be the most serious challengers for the crown.
In the end it was not to be – Marinov, Selimau, and Avluca were all eliminated in their first bout, Avluca by Janikowski and Selimau by eventual finalist Alan Khugayev of Russia, runner-up at the most recent European Championships. Janikowski survived to the semifinals, where he defeated by Gaber, who went on to face Khugayev in the finals. Both rounds of the gold medal match went to par terre, with Khugayev emerging victorious after a successful defense, and then gut-wrench, of his Egyptian opponent.
In the first bronze medal match, Daniyal Gadzhiyev of Kazakhstan, a rookie wrestler who had managed to defeat Marinov in his first bout and Selimau in the repechage, and Vladimer Gegeshidze of Georgia, an unusually tall competitor for his weight class who had not seen the podium in his two World Championships. They were evenly matched in their first two rounds, each successfully defending in the par terre, while, with points and cautions tied 90 seconds into the third round, Gadzhiyev drew the top and Gegeshidze the bottom in the final par terre. During the round, it seemed at first that the Georgian had won, scoring two points by converting his defense. The Kazakhs protested and, in a controversial decision, the referee’s call was overturned and Gadzhiyev was awarded the point and, consequently, the bronze medal. Gegeshidze, seemingly a fair sport at first, refused to shake hands with his opponent and attempted to exit the arena the wrong way, before kicking at the barricades and storming off. The second bronze medal match, between Janikowski and Mélonin Noumonvi, a three-time Olympian and runner-up at the 2009 World Championships, was far less dramatic, with Janikowski successfully defending in the first par terre and throwing his opponent out of the ring in the second to clinch the bronze.
|9||Chas Betts||26||United States||USA|
|15T||Rami Antero Hietaniemi||29||Finland||FIN|
|18T||Lee Se-Yeol||21||South Korea||KOR|
|20||Keitani Graham||32||Federated States of Micronesia||FSM|