Iran's Hassan Yazdanicharati after winning the world title in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
The 2020 Olympics have been postponed and are certainly in danger of being canceled altogether. However, there were two qualifying events, the 2019 World Championships and the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier, before everything shut down. The following looks at the top performers from each event in terms of point differential, match points scored minus match points given up, across all three styles. Many of the top performers were able to qualify, but those with the best point differential performances may end up being favorites in the qualifying events that are still to come.
Freestyle at 2019 World Championships
Iran's Hassan Yazdanicharati, the 2019 champion at 86 kilograms, dominated the field at the World Championships. On his way to the title he put up a +3.68-point differential, which was more than twice as much as any other competitor in the tournament. The wrestler with the second-best differential was Geno Petriashvili (Georgia), who won the heavyweight bracket and finished with a +1.30 differential.
Among wrestlers who were unable to qualify the weight for their country, Shaohua Yuan (China) had the best differential. He finished with a +1.08 differential despite falling against Haji Mohamad Ali (Bahrain) in a shootout match that ended via fall.
Freestyle at 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier
Alejandro Valdes (Cuba) won his first two matches by a combined 20-0 score in a little bit over a minute before taking a forfeit victory in the finals. That comes out to a +16.00-point differential, which was far away the highest of the event. American Nick Gwiazdowski who qualified the heavyweight division had the second highest differential at +7.41.
Zain Retherford had the highest differential amongst non-qualifiers. He finished with a +4.72 differential despite being upset via fall in the semifinals against Agustin Destribats (Argentina). Retherford was the only non-qualifier with a differential above 1.00.
Greco-Roman at 2019 World Championships
Not only did Musa Evloev (Russia) take first place in the 97-kilogram division, he also finished with the highest point differential in the Greco field. He outpaced the field and his teammates with a +2.10 differential. Fellow Russians Sergey Emelin (+1.96) and Roman Vlasov (+1.72) rounded out the top three despite the fact that Vlasov did not place or qualify through the 77-kilogram bracket.
Greco-Roman at 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier
Yasmani Acosta (Chile), who qualified the 130-kilogram weight, narrowly edged out G'Angelo Hancock (USA), who qualified the 97-kilogram weight, for the highest point differential in the Greco tournament. Acosta finished with a +2.04 differential, while Hancock ended up with a +2.03 differential.
Moises Perez (Venezuela) earned a bronze medal after falling against Eduard Soghomonyan (Brazil) in the semifinals and falling to qualify. Thanks to two VSU wins, he earned the highest point differential among non-qualifiers with a +1.22 differential.
Women's wrestling at 2019 World Championships
Pak Yong-mi (North Korea) somewhat surprisingly ran through the field in the 53division. Not only did she win five-straight matches to claim the gold medal, but she also put up a +2.59-point differential. Nigeria's Odunayo Adekuoroye was the only other wrestler to finish with a point differential above +2.00 as she earned a +2.16 differential on the way to a bronze medal in the 57-kilogram division.
Among non-qualifiers, Nathaly Griman (Venezuela) finished with the best point differential at +1.39. She won her first match via a 10-0 score but dropped her second on criteria 6-6 against Mariana Cherdivara (Moldova) and failed to make the repechage.
Women's wrestling at 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier
The champion in the 68-kilogram division Danielle Lappage (Canada) finished with the best point differential. She won both her matches via 10-0 scores and finished with a +9.52 differential. American Sarah Hildebrandt, who qualified the 50-kilogram weight, had the second-highest differential at +4.72.