With the Olympics being postponed last year due to COVID-19, the event was pushed back to this year. Every year, the United States holds its Olympic Wrestling Trials to determine who will be going to the Olympics to represent team USA.
The worst part is, the United States could only send one person per weight class, and there are only 6 weight classes. Here is the breakdown of the men’s Olympic Wrestling Trials. These are for the freestyle weights, as Greco roman will not be covered.
End of Jordan Burroughs?: 2021 US Olympic Wrestling Trials Results
57kg: Thomas Gilman def. Vitali Arujau:
Starting at 57kg, Thomas Gilman swept Vitali Arujau. Gilman defeated Joe Colon 10-0 in an impressive performance in the semifinals. Arujau squeaked one out against NCAA runner-up, Daton Fix, 7-5 to get to the finals.
The finals are the best of three series, and Gilman was able to sweep Vito. Gilman secured the pin in a lopsided match during the first go.
The second match was much closer. Gilman won 2-2 on criteria, yet Vito was close to sending it to a third match. A low single at the end was nearly enough for Vito, but it came too late in the match. Vito’s father, Vogar, was an Olympian himself, taking third in 1992 and fourth in 1996.
65kg: Jordan Oliver def. Joey McKenna:
Jordan Oliver won a tough tournament to go to the Olympics at 65kg. Oliver avenged his previous loss to Yianni Diakomihalis in the semi-finals. A 4-4 criteria win was enough to beat the 2x NCAA Champion.
McKenna didn’t have an easy road to the finals either. He was able to squeeze one out against Zain Retherford 8-5 in a tightly contested match.
At the end of the day, Oliver was able to pull it off and head to Tokyo by beating McKenna 3-0 and 5-2 respectively. Oliver seemed to control both matches the entire time. Oliver’s experience and age showed as it was enough to beat the young McKenna.
74kg: Kyle Dake def. Jordan Burroughs:
This was easily the talk of the entire US Olympic Wrestling Trials. Kyle Dake was able to go through the entire challenge tournament and get to the trials finals and beat Jordan Burroughs.
For those reading this that don’t know anything about wrestling, Jordan Burroughs has been the face of USA wrestling for the last 10 years, as he won gold in the Olympics in 2012. He isn’t called “The King” for nothing.
Dake battled through Evan Wick and Jason Nolf, gaining a tech fall (10-0 in freestyle) against both of them. A battle with Burroughs awaited, a match he has been looking forward to.
Dake dominated the first match, winning 3-0 where Burroughs didn’t seem to be able to get anything going. Burroughs didn’t look like himself, but fans were still confident Burroughs could bounce back.
He didn’t bounce back to the surprise of many. To be fair, Burroughs didn’t look like himself. Dake defeated him 3-2, and Burroughs couldn’t do a thing. His reactions weren’t great, and he couldn’t get his signature blast double going. The double is the bread and butter of Burroughs.
So what is next for Burroughs? He claims he is training to come back. But at 32 years old, he may be slowing down a bit. He is a family man at the end of the day. And I believe he will retire and spend more time with his family than he already does.
86kg: David Taylor def. Bo Nickal:
Two Penn State legends squared off in the finals at 86kg. “The Magic Man” David Taylor was able to best Bo Nickal 4-0 and 6-0 respectively.
Nickal picked up a 12-5 win over Zahid Valencia before losing to Taylor. He looked amazing in a match of two former NCAA Champions.
Taylor dominated his way through the day. He knocked off Gabe Dean in the semifinals to set up his match with Nickal.
The Magic Man did his thing in the finals. Nickal couldn’t score a point on him, and Taylor went to his slick single leg to score twice in the second match. Taylor is no stranger to senior-level success and hopes to bring Gold home to the US in Tokyo.
97kg: Kyle Snyder def. Kollin Moore:
In a match of two former Buckeyes, Kyle Snyder once again dominated and swept Kollin Moore 10-0 and 5-1 in that order.
Snyder looked dominant at the US Olympic Wrestling Trials. The 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist bullied Moore in the finals.
Using his strength, Snyder was able to use his under-hooks to get behind Moore in the second match and didn’t look back.
As mentioned earlier, Snyder was a Gold Medalist in 2016 and looks to do so again this year. He is the youngest Gold Medalist in the history of the United States.
125kg: Gable Steveson def. Nick Gwiazdowski:
Wrapping up the freestyle team at the US Olympic Wrestling trials were the big boys! Gable Steveson added to his fantastic year in wrestling.
An NCAA Champion, Hodge Trophy Winner, and now a US Olympian. Steveson dominated both matches against Nick Gwiazdowski 10-0 and 10-4. This was considered to be an upset.
Once Gable gets to your leg, there is no defending it. He was able to take Gwiazdowski down five times in the second match. He can win from any position and that is what makes him so dominant. It will be exciting to see him wrestle at the Olympics. He will be the youngest to win Gold at 20 years old if he wins it all.