USA's David Taylor Wins Gold In Men's Freestyle 86kg Wrestling

Taylor defeated his longtime rival Hassan Yazdani for the medal

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

American David Taylor mounted a comeback against Iran’s Hassan Yazdani to win gold in the men’s freestyle 86kg event. 

Down 3-2 with less than 20 seconds remaining, Taylor was able to get on top of Yazdani and notch the critical two points to give him the lead and then let the clock tick away. 

Yazdani earned a point early after Taylor failed to go for a point attempt. Taylor, or better known as the “Magic Man,” then got a two-point takedown to give him a 2-1 lead.

Yazdani secured back-to-back points to regain the lead by forcing Taylor out of bounds before the American was able to get the comeback in the final seconds of the match.

Taylor and Yazdani have a history that dates back to 2017. Taylor upset Yazdani in their first matchup at the 2017 World Cup, fresh off of Yazdani winning Olympic gold in Rio. Their second matchup came at the 2018 world championships, where Taylor came out on top as well. Yazdani had not lost a match since then, but Taylor made it a perfect 3-for-3 against the Iranian with the win in Tokyo.

Taylor, who was a standout wrestler at Penn State, cruised through the competition in Tokyo en route to the gold medal win. He opened with an 11-0 win over Belarus’ Ali Shabanau, followed that with a 12-2 beating of Myles Amine of San Marino and recently defeated India’s Deepak Punia 10-0. In total, Taylor outscored his opponents 33-2 before the slim victory over Yazdani. 

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