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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Tokyo Watch - 50 Profiles in 50 Days: Tamas Lorincz (Hungary)

    Tamas Lorincz after winning the 2019 World Championship (Photo/Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    As of today, we under 50 days from the start of wrestling at the Olympic Games. Over the next 50 days, we'll bring you one profile per day of a decorated international contender. Make sure you get to know the wrestlers that Team USA will compete against in Tokyo.

    6/17/21 - Takuro Otoguro (Japan)

    6/16/21 - Elizbar Odikadze (Georgia)

    6/15/21 - Koumba Larroque (France)

    6/14/21 - Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan)

    6/13/21 - Ningning Rong (China)

    6/12/21 - Bajrang Punia (India)

    6/11/21 - Frank Staebler (Germany)

    6/10/21 - Geno Petriashvili (Georgia)

    Today's profile will dive into the career of Hungarian Greco-Roman star Tamas Lorincz. Tokyo will mark the fourth time that Lorincz has competed at the Olympics. A silver medalist in 2012, Olympic gold is just about the only honor missing from the 34-year-old's lengthy resume. Earlier this year, Lorincz captured his fourth European championship and which is his seventh career medal at the event. Additionally, Lorincz has won four medals at the World level. While most 34-year-old's don't get their first Olympic gold medal, Lorincz is not like most normal wrestlers. His lone world title came two years ago and he had little trouble with the field at the continental championships this year.

    Key Wins: Ashkat Dilmukhamedov (2019 World Championships; Semifinals), Jalgasbay Berdimuratov (2019 World Championships; Round of 32), Alex Kessidis Bjurberg (2019 World Championships; Finals, 2018 European; Bronze), Hyeon-Woo Kim (2018 World Championships; Semifinals, 2017 World Championships; Quarterfinals), Chingiz Labazanov (2017 Poland Open; Bronze), Fatih Cengiz (2017 World Championships; Bronze, 2017 Poland Open; Round of 16), Gela Bolkvadze (2017 European; Round of 16), Karapet Chalyan (2017 European; Quarterfinals)

    Key Losses: Alex Kessidis Bjurberg (2019 Grand Prix of Germany; Round of 16), Hyeon-Woo Kim (2019 City of Sassari; Quarterfinals), Zoltan Levai (2018 Grand Prix of Germany; Finals), Viktor Nemes (2018 European; Quarterfinals), Aleksandr Chekhirkin (2018 World Championship Finals, 2017 World Championships; Semifinals, 2017 Poland Open; Quarterfinals), Karapet Chalyan (2019 European Games; Semifinals, 2017 Tbilisi Grand Prix; Semifinals), Tarke Abdelslam Sheble Mohamed (2017 European; Semifinals)

    The Age-Group Years (2002-05)

    Unlike many wrestlers, we'll discuss during our Olympic profiles, if you looked at the early results from Tamas Lorincz's career, you wouldn't necessarily peg him for super-stardom at the Senior level. Lorincz made his international debut in 2002 at the European Championships, competing at 46 kg as a 16-year-old. Lorincz ended up finishing seventh in that tournament, then fourth, at the same event in 2003. Two years later, he resurfaced at the 2005 Junior World Championships, where he was tenth.

    The First Olympic Quad (2006-08)

    Less than a year after taking tenth at Junior World's, Lorincz got his first taste of Senior-level competition and showed he belonged in the early going. In his first individual, international tournament, Lorincz brought home gold at the European Championships. He defeated returning European bronze medalist Sergey Kovalenko for the title. Interestingly enough, he settled for bronze later in 2006 at the European Junior tournament. Lorincz also won Junior World bronze in 2006. He also got his feet wet at the big show, competing at his first Senior World Championships in late 2006. There Lorincz advanced to the quarterfinals before suffering a loss and wasn't able to participate in repechage.

    The only event we can find on Lorincz's resume for 2007 was the only one that mattered (so to speak). He competed at the World Championships and was shut out in the semifinals by the eventual gold medalist, Farid Mansurov (Azerbaijan). That set up a match for the bronze medal with American Justin Lester. The American took a pair of hard-fought wins (this was the ball draw-era) and won the hardware. While disappointing, Lorincz's fifth-place finish did lock up a berth at his first Olympic Games in Beijing.

    Heading into the Olympics, Lorincz had mixed results. He was eighth at the continental championships, but did defeat Mansurov in the finals of the Golden Grand Prix, less than two months before the Games. At the Games, Lorincz was able to take one of three periods from the eventual gold medalist, Steeve Guenot (France), which allowed him to compete in repechage. Any medal hopes were dashed by a set of 1-1 losses to Cuba's Alain Milian in the first bout.


    The Second Olympic Quad (2009-12)

    Like 2007, the 2009 and 2010 World Championships ended similarly for Lorincz. He competed in the bronze medal match at both tournaments and ultimately came up just short. In 2009, Lorincz lost to Ambako Vachadze for the bronze and in 2010 in the world semifinals.

    2011 ended up being the only year in the quad where Lorincz did not wrestle for a world medal. After losing in three periods to Manuchar Tskhadaia (Georgia) in the World quarterfinals, Lorincz would have to fight through repechage in search of his first world medal. As was the case in the 2008 Olympics, it was a Cuba who was responsible for stopping his medal run. Pedro Mulens was victorious in a three-period bout in his second competition in repechage. His seventh-place finish in 2011 meant that Lorincz and Hungary were not automatically qualified for the 2012 Olympics.

    That meant Lorincz would have to go to Bulgaria in search of Olympic qualification. That journey proved to be fruitless as he ultimately finished 15th. Just a week later, Lorincz traveled to China and won the qualification tournament, securing a place in his second Games.

    In his final tuneup before London, Lorincz captured gold at the Poland Open. Once the brackets were established for the Olympics, it was clear that Lorincz was done no favors. In the opening round, he had to get by young star, Frank Staebler (Germany), the European Champion that year. Lorincz was tasked with opponents that had previously defeated him in major tournaments in his next two bouts. First up was the American, Lester. Lorincz prevailed in a three-period slugfest, which set up a date with Tskhadaia in the semis. The Hungarian cruised 3-0, 4-0 into the finals, ensuring at least a silver medal. Lorincz's luck would run out as he was edged by Hyeon-Woo Kim (South Korea) for the gold. Kim, like Lorincz, has proven to be a mainstay on the Greco scene.

    The Third Quad (2013-2016)

    It was 2012 and the third quad where Lorincz really hit his stride and was in the prime of his career (25-29 years old). Lorincz won four tournaments in 2013, including his second European title, heading into the World Championships. At the World Championships, he advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to 2010 world champion Hasan Aliyev (Azerbaijan). When Aliyev failed to make the finals, Lorincz's tournament was over. He was unable to win a medal in front of his home fans.

    Once again, in 2014, Lorincz won everything possible in the run-up to the world championships. Some of the notable tournaments, he captured include another European title, a World University Championship, and his fourth straight Golden Grand Prix. All of these wins came at 71 kg, rather than his customary 66 kg weight class. Down at 66 kg for the 2014 World Championships, Lorincz squared off with a fellow European Champion, Adam Kurak (Russia), in the quarterfinals and proved victorious. A match later, he got by 2015 European Games silver medalist, Mirhan Harutyunyan (Armenia), for a slot in the semis. There he was beaten by 2011 World Champion Omid Norouzi (Iran), 4-1. That set up another date with Staebler, with a bronze medal hanging in the balance. Lorincz pitched a 5-0 shutout to down the German and win his first world medal.

    At the 2015 World Championships, Harutyunyan got his revenge and defeated Lorincz in the Round of 16. The Armenian did not make the finals, which ended Lorincz's tournament without a medal.

    Just like four years earlier, Lorincz would need to go to a qualifying event to grab a berth in Rio. As was the case in most of this quad, Lorincz was rolling in the early portion of 2016. He won the Grand Prix's of Zagreb and Hungary before getting an Olympic spot at the qualifying tournament.

    The trip to Rio ended up being anticlimatic for Lorincz as he was blanked by Han-su Ryu (South Korea) in his opening bout. When Ryu fell to Harutyunyan in the next match, his medal hopes were crushed.

    The Fourth Quad-plus (2017-21)

    The 2017 year marked a bit of a turning point in Lorincz's career. He had turned 30 the previous December and was close to "grizzled veteran" status. In stark contrast to the last quad, Lorincz rarely won tournaments; however, he always remained in the mix. With age also came a weight change. Lorincz moved up to 75 kg in 2017, then 77 kg after the weights changed in 2018. In his first World Championship event at the new weight, Lorincz advanced to the quarters where he ran into and old foe, 2012 Olympic gold medalist, Hyeon-Woo Kim. This time the Hungarian got his hand raised, 3-1. He was pinned in the semifinals, by a new rival Aleksandr Chekhirkin (Russia). The two would tangle and a handful of essential tournaments this quad. Lorincz would get a medal, though, after getting by Fatih Cengiz (Turkey) the U23 World Champion later in 2017.

    2018 saw Lorincz narrow down his competition schedule as he prepared for the World Championships. Once again, it was held in Budapest, though he'd fare much better than the last time it was in his backyard (2013). Lorincz received a relatively favorable draw and cruised to the semifinals, where he'd face Kim again. For the second time in a row, Lorincz got a measure of revenge for 2012. But, waiting in the finals was Chekhirkin, who continued to torment Lorincz with a 3-1 loss.

    Lorincz started 2019 with a pair of bronze medals before losing early in the Grand Prix of Germany to Alex Kessidis Bjurberg (Sweden). It marked the first time since the 2016 Olympics that Lorincz failed to medal at an international event. That did not foreshadow the future as Lorincz had little trouble with his first three opponents at the World Championships in Nur-Sultan. He made another world final after getting by Ashkat Dilmukhamedov in a 1-1 bout decided on criteria. That set up a rematch with Kessidis Bjurberg for a world title. The match wasn't even in doubt and Lorincz got his elusive world championship with an 8-0 tech. At 32, Lorincz was a first-time world champion.

    Since the 2019 World Championships, Lorincz has only competed a handful of times. His only appearance thus far in 2021 saw him grab his fourth career gold medal at the European Championships. It's hard to judge Lorincz based on this event. Most of his opponents didn't have long, decorated resumes. Even so, only one of his five opponents even registered a point. Does that mean we can expect a similar level of dominance from the Hungarian veteran in Toyko?

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