- Olympic men’s freestyle wrestling is slated to get underway in Tokyo on Wednesday, August 4
- American David Taylor is favored to win the gold medal in the 86kg weight class
- In the 97kg division, both Abdulrashid “The Russian Tank” Sadulaev and Kyle Snyder (USA) are Olympic gold medalists
Olympic men’s freestyle wrestling is slated to get underway with opening matches in Tokyo on Wednesday, August 4. American grapplers are contenders to win several medals on the wrestling mat.
Wrestling is considered by many to be the world’s oldest sport. It’s a pure battle of physical skill between two opponents with the aim of pinning or throwing their rival to the mat. The history of the sport dates back to the days of the ancient Greek Olympics.
When the modern Olympic Games began in 1896, Greco-Roman wrestling – permitting only holds above the waist – was included in the Olympic program. Freestyle wrestling became a permanent part of the Olympic Games in 1908.
Wrestling from the Tokyo Games will carried daily on the Olympic Channel. Action from the mat can also be caught on the USA Network and CNBC during the competition. Streaming options include Peacock Premium and NBC’s official Tokyo Olympics streaming website.
Olympic Men’s 74kg Freestyle Wrestling Odds
|Kyle Dake (USA)||-213|
|Zaurbek Sidakov (ROC)||+175|
|Frank Chamzio (ITA)||+600|
|Daniyar Kaisanov (KAZ)||+1700|
|Bekzod Abdurakhmomov (UZB)||+2000|
Odds as of August 2 at DraftKings
The deepest field in any weight class will grapple for the 74kg gold medal. Russia’s Zaurbek Sidakov is the reigning two-time world champion but he’s only seeded third in Tokyo.
Italy’s Frank Chamizo, a world champ at three different weight classes, is the top seed. Amerian Kyle Dake is dropping down from 79kg, where he’s a two-time world champ.
Frank Chamizo wouldn’t be the athlete he is today if it weren’t for his opponents. His adversaries are his daily source of purpose, strength, and motivation. #StrongerTogether #Olympics@ChamizoFrank | @ItaliaTeam_it | @Coninews | @wrestling pic.twitter.com/jJViUbCAz3
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 13, 2021
They’re among nine world medalists in the field. Both #2 seed seed and winner Daniyar Kaisanov of Kazakhstan (2019) and #4 seed Mostafa Hosseinkhani from Iran (2016) are world bronze medalists. Jeandry Garzon Caballero of Cuba and Bekzod Abdurakhmanov of Uzbekistan are multiple world championship medalists.
Franklin Gomez (2011) of Puerto Rico and Avtandil Kentchadze of Georgia (2018) are both world silver medal winners. Gomez will be the first athlete in Puerto Rican history to compete in three Olympic Games.
Pick: Frank Chamzio (ITA) +600.
Olympic Men’s 86kg Freestyle Wrestling Odds
|David Taylor (USA)||-160|
|Hassan Yazdani (IRI)||+150|
|Artur Naifonov (ROC)||+650|
|Deepak Punia (IND)||+700|
|Myles Amine (SMR)||+1800|
Iran’s Hassan Yazdanicharati was Olympic champion in Rio at 74kg. He’s moving up in weight in Tokyo, looking to add another gold medal. Standing in his path is American David Taylor.
'The Magic Man' vs. 'The Greatest'
They've met twice, and twice David TAYLOR 🇺🇸picked up convincing victories over Olympic champion Hasan YAZDANI 🇮🇷. Who are you taking if the pair of superstars collide at the #WrestleTokyo Olympic Games? #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/q1SFgtQOSN
— United World Wrestling (@wrestling) July 30, 2021
In 2017 and 2019, Yazdanicharati won world titles at 86kg. However, in 2018, he suffered a stunning first-round loss at the worlds to Taylor. Taylor carried on to win the gold in his first and so far only World Championship appearance. He missed the 2019 tourney through injury.
Taylor was named UWW’s Men’s Freestyle Wrestler of the Year in 2018. However, because of his injury, he’s unseeded in Tokyo and could face a tough road to gold.
Pick: Hassan Yazdanicharati (IRI) +150.
Olympic Men’s 125kg Freestyle Wrestling Odds
|Geno Petriashvili (GEO)||+140|
|Taha Akgul (TUR)||+185|
|Gable Dan Steveson (USA)||+200|
|Yusup Batirmurzaev (KAZ)||+900|
|Yadollah Mohebbi (IRI)||+1400|
The heavyweight division of wrestling is dominated by two men. Georgia’s Geno Petriashvili won the 2017, 2018 and 2019 world championships. He’s the #1 seed in this weight class in Tokyo. However, Petriashvili only won bronze at the 2016 Rio Summer Games.
The gold medal five years ago went to Turkey’s Taha Akgul. Either Akgul or Petriashvili have won every heavyweight world or Olympic title since 2014. Entering his third Olympiad, Akgul was wold champ in 2014 and 2015. He’s lost the last two world title gold medal bouts to Petriashvili. Akgul is seeded third in Tokyo.
OLYMPICS PREVIEW: US Olympian Gable Steveson chases gold, pro wrestling dreams.
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) July 24, 2021
The wildcard in this group is American Gable Dan Steveson. Just 21, he’s an NCAA and world junior champion. He’s expected to join the WWE following the Tokyo Summer Games.
Pick: Geno Petriashvili (GEO) +140.
Olympic Men’s 97kg Freestyle Wrestling Odds
|Abdulrashid Sadulaev (ROC)||-334|
|Mohammad Hossein Mohammadian (IRI)||+350|
|Kyle Snyder (USA)||+450|
|Abraham Conyedo (ITA)||+1400|
|Sharif Sharifov (AZE)||+1400|
Russian Olympic Committee wrestler Abdulrashid “The Russian Tank” Sadulaev is considered one of the superstars of the amateur version of the sport. At 86kg, he was the 2016 Olympic gold medal winner in Rio. He was also a four–time world champion (2014, 2015, 2018, 2019) and the Individual World Cup champion (2020) in that division.
— United World Wrestling (@wrestling) July 30, 2021
Moving up in weight class, Sadulaev will be going head to head with the reigning Olympic gold medal winner in American Kyle Snyder. The two have met on the mat twice over the past three years. Each wrestler has recorded one victory.
Pick: Abdulrashid Sadulaev (ROC) -334.