Steveson claims Olympic gold in dramatic fashion
Published 4:13 pm Friday, August 6, 2021
In what could be remembered as the greatest wrestling match in the history of the Olympic Games, Gable Steveson came from behind in the last thirteen seconds to knock off three-time World Champion Geno Petriashvili (GEO) and become an Olympic gold medalist.
The showdown between the two giants began relatively slowly considering the pace that Gable had portrayed throughout his first three matches. Both men were feeling each other out for about the first minute, which Gable showed a bit more initiative to score than Petriashvili.
About halfway through the opening frame, the Georgian was put on the shot clock first and looked comfortable with handing away the passivity point as he continued to dissect Gable’s game. Shortly after, it was Steveson with the first real offensive attempt, snatching Petriashvili’s left leg and finishing with a trip to make it 3-0.
With the clock winding down in the first period, Petriashvili took a shot, but Gable defended nicely and looked to have a huge lift on the edge of the mat for four points. However, they referee signaled out of bounds, which meant only one point and a 4-0 at the break for the American.
Coming out of the break, Steveson fired off a low single, but it was Petriashvili who lifted him over in defense for a two-point exposure, with Steveson answering with a one point reversal to make it 5-2.
Back up on the feet, and it appeared as though Petriashvili was starting to take control with 90 seconds remaining, firing off a single leg attack and clasping a body lock around Steveson’s hips, rolling him twice to suddenly shift the match to 8-5 in Petriashvili’s favor.
Looking to hang onto the lead, Petriashvili took the next three shots on the feet, as it appeared Gable’s golden dreams were slipping away.
13 seconds left in the match, and Steveson needed two takedowns to take the lead. After a weak Petriashvili shot off the whistle, Steveson would swing behind for a quick takedown to make it 8-7 before the refs stood them back up.
With 6.5 seconds left, Steveson fainted towards a single leg, getting the Georgian off-balance and snapping him down, spinning around, and getting the winning takedown with 0.2 seconds left in the match to win 9-8.
The Georgia coach would challenge to argue that time had expired but the call stood, making the final score 10-8 after the penalty point, making Gable Steveson an Olympic champion.
With the win, Steveson became team USA’s second gold medalist in Men’s Freestyle, and third in all styles. He also became the first Gopher wrestler in program history to bring home an Olympic gold medal, cementing himself as perhaps the most accomplished wrestler to step foot in the Golden Gopher practice room.
Before the Olympic Games, it was speculated by many that the two roadblocks for the USA heavyweight, would be Taha Akgul (TUR) and Petriashvili, and with Friday’s win Steveson defeated them both to cap one of the most impressive Olympic runs in recent memory and claim his Olympic glory.