Reigning world champion Kyle Snyder is one win away from a gold medal at the Rio Games.
Snyder took out Cuba’s Javier Cortina by a score of 10-3 in the Round of 16, then rolled to a 7-0 victory over Romania’s Albert Saritov in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Snyder appeared to be in trouble when his opponent, world No. 6 Elizbar Odikadze of Georgia, hit a four-point takedown early in the match. At the intermission, the score was 4-0 in favor of the Geogian.
But Snyder, known for his premier conditioning, wore Odikadze down in the second period. Snyder was repeatedly able to get the Georgian’s leg and force him out of bounds. Snyder forced three step outs to cut the score to 4-3, then got a takedown to take the lead. Snyder added a few more step outs and takedowns to push his advantage to 9-4 by the end of the match.
In the gold medal match for men’s 97kg freestyle wrestling, Snyder will face Khetag Gazyumov, the world No. 3 from Azerbaijan. Earlier in the day, world No. 1 Anzor Boltukayev from Russia was surprisingly eliminated in the Round of 16 by Ukraine’s Valerii Andriitsev.
A second member of the U.S. team will be competing for a medal this afternoon as well. Molinaro, competing in the 65kg division, won his first match before losing to 2012 gold medalist Toghrul Asgarov by technical fall in the quarterfinals.
With Asgarov reaching the final, Molinaro has been pulled into the repechage. There he will face Ukraine’s Andriy Kvyatkovskyy, with the winner moving into a bronze medal match.
Chamizo (ITA) wins 4-3 vs. Iakobishvili (GEO)
Asgarov (AZE) wins by tech fall 10-0 vs. Molinaro (USA)
Navruzov (UZB) wins 8-5 vs. Gomez (PUR)
Ramonov (RUS) wins 6-0 vs. Ganzorig (MGL)
Snyder (USA) wins 7-0 vs. Saritov (ROU)
Odikadze (GEO) wins 6-1 vs. Ibragimov (KAZ)
Andriitsev (UKR) wins 5-2 vs. Musaev (KGZ)
Goziumov (AZE) wins 12-3 vs. Ibragimov (UZB)
Asgarov (AZE) wins 7-4 vs. Chamizo (ITA)
Ramonov (RUS) wins 18-7 vs. Navruzov (UZB)
Snyder (USA) qins 9-4 vs. Odikadze (GEO)
Goziumov (AZE) wins by tech fall 11-0 vs. Andriitsev (UKR)
Gold medal matches
65kg: Asgarov (AZE) vs. Ramonov (RUS)
97kg: Snyder (USA) vs. Goziumov (AZE)