Davor Stefanek celebrates after winning an Olympic gold medal (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)
RIO DE JANEIRO -- Davor Stefanek of Serbia became his nation's first Olympic gold medalist in wrestling by winning the 66 kilogram title, while Armenia's Artur Aleksanyan claimed gold at 98 kilograms on the third and final day of Greco-Roman competition at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday.
Medal matches at 66 kilograms
Stefanek, ranked No. 6 in the world, defeated Armenia's Migran Arutyunyan in the gold medal finals. The match ended in a 1-1 score, but Stefanek -- the 2014 world champion -- got the win on criteria over his eighth-ranked foe because he was the last one to be awarded a point.
Immediately after winning his gold medal, Stefanek celebrated with a backflip.
The bronze medals in this weight class went to Shmagi Bolkvadze of Georgia and Azerbaijan's Rasul Chunayev.
Bolkvadze edged Tomohiro Inoue of Japan, 1-0, to pick up his first senior-level medal in World or Olympic competition. The Georgian, ranked No. 10 at 66 kilos, was a junior world champion in 2014.
The top-ranked Chunayev, the 2015 World champion at 71 kilograms, had to drop down a weight class to compete at 66 kilos in Rio. The Azerbaijani shut out 2013 world champion Ryu Han-Su of South Korea by an 8-0 technical fall.
No U.S. wrestlers competed in this weight class.
Artur Aleksanyan gets his hand raised after winning the Olympic gold medal (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)
Medal matches at 98 kilograms
In the gold-medal match, No. 2 ranked Aleksanyan held Yasmany Daniel Lugo Cabrera of Cuba scoreless, 3-0, to win his third consecutive world title. In addition to winning gold today, the Armenian had won back-to-back World titles in 2014 and 2015.
Bringing home bronze medals at 98 kilos were Cenk Ildem of Turkey and Ghasem Rezaei of Iran.
The No. 6 ranked Ildem, a two-time World bronze medalist, added Olympic bronze to his trophy case by shutting out 19th-ranked Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu of Romania, 4-0.
Rezaei scored a come-from-behind win over Sweden's Carl Fredrik Schoen. The third-ranked Iranian had been down 4-0 in the second period when he scored two gut wrenches to win the match by criteria, 4-4. Rezaei is now a two-time Olympic medalist; the bronze won in Rio joins the gold medal earned in London in 2012.
The U.S. had failed to qualify a wrestler at this weight.
Greco medal tally
Parity is a word often used to describe the evenly-matched competition in NCAA Division I wrestling. A similar statement could be made for Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2016 Rio Games. Individual wrestlers from sixteen nations were able to win at least one medal out of the 24 Olympic medals up for grabs in three days of competition just concluded.
No one country ran away with all the hardware. Two nations could claim three medals each: Cuba, with two golds and one silver … and Russia, with two golds and one bronze. A quartet of countries won two medals each: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey.
For the second straight Olympics, the U.S. Greco-Roman team left the Summer Games empty-handed.
Greco competition concluded, women's freestyle wrestling will take center stage for the next two days in Rio. On Wednesday -- Day Four of the Olympics -- there will be women's competition at 48, 58 and 69 kilograms, with Haley Augello taking to the mats for Team USA at 48 kilos/105.5 pounds.