Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): ExCeL, Newham, London
Date Started: August 5, 2012
Date Finished: August 5, 2012
Format: Single elimination tournament. Competitors losing to the finalists entered repechage tournament for bronze medals.
|Bronze:|| Aleksandras Kazakevičius
The tournament for the men’s middleweight Greco-Roman wrestling crown seemed as if it would shape up to be a battle between World Champions Selçuk Çebi of Turkey and Roman Vlasov of Russia. Çebi had been World Champion in 2009 and 2010, but was unseated in 2011 by Vlasov, who had just made the jump from the junior to the senior edition of the competition. While these two were the favorites for gold, attention was also given to Arsen Julfalakyan of Armenia who was vying to repeat the feat of his father Levon, who won a gold medal in the lightweight Greco-Roman category in 1988. Arsen had been eliminated in the 1/8 finals of the 2008 Summer Games, but had improved significantly since then with second and third-place finishes at the 2010 and 2011 World Championships respectively. If he won the gold medal in London, he would become part of the first father-son Olympic wrestling champions. The other 2011 World Championship bronze medalist, Neven Žugaj, was aiming to become the first Croatian Olympic wrestling medalist, while Christophe Guénot was the only returning Olympic medalist from the 2008 Games.
In a shocking turn of events, Çebi was eliminated in his opening match by Robert Rosengren, a unheralded wrestler from Sweden. This only question now was who would face Vlasov in the final, a call answered by Julfalakyan who, unlike Vlasov, never lost a round on his journey to the gold medal match. In the end, however, Vlasov demonstrated clear superiority over Julfalakyan, successfully defending against his opponent’s aggressive style and brining each round to par terre, where his strength gave him the advantage in both the top and bottom positions. Vlasov successfully flipped, then defended, in this stage, winning the match in two rounds and claiming the top podium spot.
The first bronze medal match pitted Aleksandras Kazakevičius of Lithuania against Mark O. Madsen of Denmark, both veteran Olympians from 2008. Madsen was a three-time silver medalist at the World Championships (2005, 2007, and 2009) while Kazakevičius was fighting at a disadvantage, having injured his right eye in an earlier bout. Nonetheless the Lithuanian maintained his defenses throughout, bringing his opponent to par terre both times, and was able to successfully defend, and then convert, to win the match in two rounds and capture the bronze medal. In the second match, Aleksandr Kikinyov of Belarus, who had competed in the 2004 Summer Games and had a bronze medal from the 2009 World Championships, faced Emin Əhmədov of Azerbaijan, a rookie on the international scene. Each wrestler was able to convert their par terre top advantage to a point in the first two rounds, leading to a third round where, with points and cautions tied, a ball was drawn and Əhmədov was given the opportunity to choose his position in the third par terre. Selecting the top, the Azerbaijani was able to drive Kikinyov out of the ring for a point, although this ruling was unclear and challenged at first. Even when replays showed clearly that the Belarusian had stepped outside, however, Kikinyov refused to admit defeat or shake hands with his opponent. Regardless of these protestations, Əhmədov was awarded the bronze medal.
|5T||Mark O. Madsen||27||Denmark||DEN|
|11||Ben Provisor||22||United States||USA|
|17T||Zied Ayt Okrame||23||Tunisia||TUN|
|19||Kim Jin-Hyeok||23||South Korea||KOR|