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  • Photo: Larry Slater

    Photo: Larry Slater

    Mensah-Stock Dominates Her Way to the Olympic Semifinals

    Tamyra Mensah-Stock against 2016 Olympic gold medalist Sara Dosho (Photo courtesy of Larry Slater; LBSphoto.smugmug.com)

    The second day of competition at the 2020 Olympics started with US Greco-Roman 60 kg athlete Ildar Hafizov in action during the repechage portion of the tournament. Hafizov faced 2018 world champion Sergey Emelin (ROC), with a berth in the bronze medal bout hanging in the balance. Hafizov started as the aggressor and the official agreed as he was awarded a point for passivity and given the opportunity to add to his lead in par terre. Hafizov could not turn the Russian and went into the break up 1-0. In the second period, Emelin had the chance to work from par terre after passivity was called against Hafizov. Emelin was able to capitalize and turned Hafizov three times with a gut wrench. That made the score 7-1 in favor of Emelin and that's how the bout would end. Hafizov was eliminated from medal contention with the loss.

    Two more Americans started their tournaments as Tamyra Mensah-Stock (68 kg women's freestyle) and G'Angelo Hancock (97 kg men's Greco-Roman) began their quest for gold. The top-seeded Mensah-Stock was the first bout on Mat B against 2016 Olympic gold medalist and 2017 world champion Sara Dosho (Japan). From the opening whistle, Mensah-Stock was active on her feet and stunned her Japanese foe with a takedown less than a minute into the bout. She added a pair of points from a leg lace to lead 4-0. Mensah-Stock continued to push the pace and grabbed another takedown with a double leg. After two exposures from a leg lace, Mensah-Stock had teched the 2016 gold medalist in only 2:07.

    The quarterfinals saw Mensah-Stock meet Feng Zhou (China), the last opponent to defeat her internationally. Zhou topped Mensah-Stock 8-8 at the 2020 Matteo Pellicone. That match felt like a distant memory as the American scored quickly off of a single-leg attack. Mensah-Stock continually frustrated Zhou with a combination of stout defense, good movement, crisp reattacks, and definitive finishes. She was able to secure a tech in the second period, 10-0.

    Mensah-Stock will move into the semifinals against 2018 world champion Alla Cherkasova of Ukraine. Cherkasova's world title came in a weight class that Mensah-Stock entered and took bronze. It goes without saying, but Mensah-Stock is an entirely different wrestler than in 2018.

    Hancock's tournament started by taking on a formidable opponent, Mikheil Kajaia of Serbia. Kajaia earned bronze medals at the last two world championships. Right away, Hancock established dominance by controlling ties and planting himself with his back to the center. The whistle also noticed and gave Hancock a point for passivity and let him work from par terre. Hancock did not waste the opportunity and notched a pair of turns to take a commanding 5-0 lead. Kajaia was never able to mount any offensive and generally did not match the intensity and aggressiveness of Hancock. The American moved into the quarterfinals with a 5-1 victory.

    In the quarters, Hancock was paired off against Poland's Tadeusz Michalik. Early in the second period, both wrestlers had been called for passivity and Michalik held the advantage on criteria. In an important sequence, the pair went off the mat and a step was called in favor of Michalik. The US corner challenged the ruling and it was upheld. With a lost challenge, Hancock now trailed 3-1. Both exchanged step-outs for a 4-2 lead by the Polish wrestler. With only :18 remaining in the bout, Hancock pulled within one after another step out. He would get no closer as Michalik would hold off Hancock and take the 4-3 win. Michalik appeared to force throws numerous times in the match, only to end up on the mat underneath Hancock. In each instance, it was ruled a slip.

    Michalik will move on to the semis to face the top seed Musa Evloev (ROC), a world champion, in 2018 and 2019. If Michalik can pull the upset, Hancock will be brought into repechage.

    American Results

    60 kg Greco-Roman Repechage

    Sergey Emelin (ROC) over Ildar Hafizov (USA) 7-1

    97 kg Greco-Roman

    G'Angelo Hancock (USA) over Mikheil Kajaia (Serbia) 5-1

    Tadeusz Michalik (Poland) over G'Angelo Hancock (USA) 4-3

    68 kg Women's Freestyle

    Tamyra Mensah-Stock (USA) over Sara Dosho (Japan) 10-0

    Tamyra Mensah-Stock (USA) over Feng Zhou (China) 10-0

    Olympic Semifinal Matchups

    77 kg Greco-Roman

    Tamas Lorincz (Hungary) vs. Mohammadali Geraei (Iran)

    Karapet Chalyan (Armenia) vs. Akzhol Makhmudov (Kyrgyzstan)

    97 kg Greco-Roman

    Musa Evloev (ROC) vs. Tadeusz Michalik (Poland)

    Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia) vs. Mohammadhadi Saravi (Iran)

    68 kg Women's Freestyle

    Tamyra Mensah-Stock (USA) vs. Alla Cherkasova (Ukraine)

    Battsetseg Soronzonbold (Mongolia) vs. Blessing Oborududu (Nigeria)

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