Aug. 28, 2004
ATHENS, GREECE – Former Hawkeye wrestler and assistant coach Joe Williams advanced to Sunday’s quarterfinals after winning his pool competition at 74 kg/163 lbs., defeating 2002 World champion Mehdi Hajizadeh Joybari, 3-0 in the evening session.
Williams led after the first period, 1-0, with a spin behind takedown midway through the period. In the second period, neither athlete could score until there were 20 seconds left in the match. There was a scramble off of a takedown attack by Williams, which ended with him on the top. After viewing the video tape, officials awarded Williams two points, giving him the 3-0 victory. He will face Gennadiy Laliev of Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals.
Cael Sanderson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) won the gold medal at 84 kg/185 lbs in men’s freestyle wrestling at the Ano Liossia Olympic Hall in Athens, Greece, Saturday, August 28.
Claiming a silver medal after losses in the finals were Stephen Abas (Fresno, Calif. /Sunkist Kids) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Jamill Kelly (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Sanderson, a 2003 World silver medalist, defeated 2000 Olympic silver medalist Moon Eui Jae of Korea in the finals by a 3-1 margin.
There was no scoring in the first period, although Sanderson pressed the action and Moon was hit with two passivity calls. In the clinch to start the second period, Sanderson released his lock in the first seven seconds, giving a point to Moon and trailed 1-0. With a minute and a half left in the period, Sanderson hit a leg attack for a takedown in which there was a scramble situation. Officials reviewed the videotape and awarded Sanderson two points, indicating that he achieved exposure during the action. With 54 seconds left in the match, Sanderson completed a leg attack takedown for a 3-0 lead, which held until time ran out.
Sanderson becomes the first U.S. wrestler to win a gold medal in wrestling during the Athens Olympic Games. The United States has now won six medals (one gold, three silvers, two bronzes). This includes three in men’s freestyle, two in women’s freestyle and one in men’s Greco-Roman. There is one day of competition remaining in wrestling, and the U.S. has a chance to add to this medal count on Sunday.
Sanderson defined perfection in college, going 159-0 and winning four NCAA titles at Iowa State, then winning a World silver medal in 2003 in freestyle wrestling. He is originally from Heber City, Utah.
Abas was defeated by Russia’s Mavlet Batirov in the gold-medal finals, 9-1.Batirov opened the scoring with a two-point counter crotch lift for a 2-0 lead just 40 seconds into the bout. He added a single leg takedown for a 3-0 lead. Abas scored his lone point on a fleeing the mat call late in the first period to make it 3-1.
Batirov owned the second period, adding another two-point counter tilt for a5-1 lead early in the second period. The Russian athlete added two more takedowns and a one-point gut wrench turn for his final three points and a9-1 decision.
In 2003, in the World Championships in New York City, Abas had defeated Batirov by a 4-2 margin in the pool competition.
Kelly lost in the finals to three-time World champion Elbrus Tedeyev of Ukraine in the gold-medal finals, 5-1.
Tedeyev scored first on a single leg takedown at the 50 second mark of the first period. He added a pair of two-point ankle lace turns within the next minute for a 5-0 lead midway through the period. The only other point scored was a double leg takedown for one point by Kelly with 35 seconds left in the match.
Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) won his pool at 96 kg/211.5 lbs., after defeating Bartolomej Bartnicki of Poland, 10-1. Cormier opened the scoring quickly, getting a three-point throw then a gut wrench turn for a quick 5-0 lead in 48 seconds. In the second period, Bartnicki scored a takedown to make the score 5-1. Cormier added a one-point takedown, then a three-point takedown to exposure to take an 8-1 lead. Two more takedowns ended the match at 10-1.
Because Cormier is in the bottom pool (Pool 7), he advances directly into the semifinals. His opponent will be determined in a quarterfinal match on Sunday morning between Khajimurad Gatsalov of Russia and Aleksandr Shemarov (Belarus). The lowest that Cormier could place now is fourth in the weight class.
Eric Guerrero (Stillwater, Okla/Gator WC) was eliminated with his second loss at 60 kg/132 lbs. He fell 3-1 in overtime to David Pogosian of Georgia.Pogosian scored a takedown in the first period for a 1-0 lead. Guererro tied it at 1-1 early in the second period with a takedown. Pogosian took a 2-1 lead with a takedown with just eight seconds left in regulation. In the overtime clinch, Guerrero unlocked his hands attempting to score a takedown, and the winning third point was awarded to Pogosian
For the entire freestyle tournament so far, the United States has an impressive 17-5 record.
74 kg/163 lbs. – Joe Williams, Iowa City, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
Were you nervous when it took so long to score the final points from the officials?
“I was fortunate to hold him there for a couple of seconds, so that really showed the referee that I had control in that position. Any time you can put yourself into those kinds of positions, the outcome can be good for you.”
Evaluate your day.
“Both matches were real sluggish. I didn’t get a strong warmup in like I thought I should have. But I still was able to come out and score and finish the match. The second match here, I was a little more consistent. I kind of hesitated a little. I think that kept the match close. But I was able to do what I needed to do to win.”
84 kg/185 lbs. – Cael Sanderson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
How do you feel?
“I’m happy. It’s been a long road and I hoping to realize it’s over soon.It’s a tough tournament and I’m glad to be here. It’s just a great experience. I had fun even when I was behind in my matches.”
Were you nervous being down in the second period?
“He was real strong and real smart and he was wrestling a real good match. I knew I had to get something going or it was going to slip away.”
What were you thinking when they went to video review for your two points?
“You never know what you’re going to get, especially in a situation like that, so to get two points out of that – that was big.”
Was it emotional to see your coaches run on the mat after the win?
“Coach Jackson and Coach Douglas are such great coaches. You want to win for them so bad. To see them excited and happy like that, it’s an indescribable feeling.”
Why didn’t you wave a flag around when you won?
“I didn’t plan a celebration. I’m not good with props. I just wanted to get out of there before I made a fool out of myself really.”
What are your plans now?
“I’m just going to relax. Spend some time with my wife and my dogs. I don’t have any straight plans. I’m planning to stay at Iowa State and help with the wrestling program. But other than that, I’m just enjoying life right now.”