Mijain Lopez became the third Greco-Roman wrestler to win three Olympic gold medals (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
RIO DE JANEIRO -- Mijain Lopez Nunez of Cuba made history by winning the Greco-Roman superheavyweight championship at the 2016 Rio Games, becoming only the third Greco wrestler -- and ninth overall -- to win a trio of Olympic gold medals, while Russia's Davit Chakvetadze claimed gold at 85 kilograms/187 pounds in the second day of wrestling competition Monday.
Medal matches at 130 kilograms
In a battle of two big men who had served as flag bearers for their respective nations at the Opening Ceremonies a week ago Friday, No. 2-ranked Lopez shut out top-ranked Riza Kayaalp of Turkey, 6-0, to claim his third Olympic gold medal, to go with those won in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
The Cuban opened the bout with a four-point chest lock to take a 4-0 lead. Adding a step out and a caution point, and it was all Lopez, who was avenging his loss to Kayaalp in the finals of the 2015 World Championships.
Lopez will need a bigger display case to hold his hardware. In addition to now having three Olympic gold medals, Lopez also owns five World titles and three World silver medals.
In bronze-medal competition at 130 kilos, the winners were No. 15-ranked Sabah Shariati of Azerbaijan and Russia's Sergey Semenov, ranked sixth.
Shariati pinned No. 4-ranked Eduard Popp of Germany in 1:47, while Semenov -- a two-time Junior World champ -- racked up points instantly with a five-point throw to defeat two-time World champion Heiki Nabi of Estonia, 6-0, for his bronze medal.
Davit Chakvetadze celebrates after winning gold (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Medal matches at 85 kilograms
Russia's Chakvetadze won his gold medal at 85 kilos in dominant style, upsetting defending World champion Zhan Beleniuk of Ukraine, 9-2. The third-ranked Chakvetadze "unleased an assault of par terre attacks" (to quote USA Wrestling's Richard Immel) on the top-ranked Beleniuk in the second period to score the win.
Claiming bronze medals at 85 kilos were Belarus' Javid Hamzatau and Denis Kudla of Germany.
No. 13-ranked Hamzatau defeated No. 14 Nikolai Bayrakov of Bulgaria, 4-1, while Kudla narrowly escaped with a 3-3 criteria win over Viktor Lorincz of Hungary to become the 32nd Olympic medal for Germany in Greco-Roman.
Disappointing day for USA
Both of Team USA's Greco-Roman wrestlers competing on Monday -- Robby Smith at 130 kilos, and Ben Provisor at 85 kilos, each lost his opening-round match, so each placed 12th in his respective bracket.
Team USA had no entries for Tuesday's competition at 66 kilos and 98 kilos -- the last day for Greco-Roman wrestling. Therefore, no U.S. Greco wrestlers will have earned a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the second consecutive Olympics where Team USA failed to medal in Olympic Greco competition.