Jordan Oliver Unable to Qualify 65 kg at Last Chance Qualifier

Jordan Oliver at the 2021 Olympic Trials (Photo/Tony Rotundo;

On the first day of the World Olympic Games Qualifier from Sofia, Bulgaria, one lone member of the US men's freestyle team, Jordan Oliver, was in action attempting to qualify the 65 kg weight class for the Olympics. The two finalists at all six weights would earn berths, without any sort of "true" second-place match.

When the draws were announced early yesterday, it was apparent that Oliver had his work cut out for him and most of the credentialed contenders were in his half of the bracket. Before action kicked off on Thursday, Oliver got a stroke of good luck as one of the tournament's favorites, Ilias Bekbulatov (Uzbekistan), missed weight. Oliver was slated to meet the Russian transfer with continental championships in Asia and Europe to his name.

Before worrying about a second match, Oliver had to get by a tough Ruhan Rasim (Bulgaria), wrestling in his home country. While Oliver was measured in his offensive attacks, he did enough to win, 6-2. In lieu of Bekbulatov's missed weigh-in, Junsik Yun (Korea) advanced to the second round. Oliver survived a late push from the Korean wrestler to hang on 5-4. That win set up a quarterfinal matchup with a fresh Gor Ogannesyan (Ukraine). Oliver's offense was held in check for the majority of the bout; however, he converted on the winning takedown with under :25 seconds remaining. The final score was 3-3 since the criteria was in Oliver's favor.

Those wins earned Oliver a spot in the semifinals in the second session of the day. Oliver's opponent was Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (Poland), a 2020 World Cup champion at 70 kg and a two-time world medalist. Since Gadzhiev came down from 70 kilos, he was the larger, more physically imposing of the pair. That was evident in the first period as Gadzhiev scored on a couple of step-out points and made his lead 3-0 after Oliver was held scoreless on the shot clock. In the second period, Oliver was able to dictate the pace more and even registered a takedown with his signature double leg. The officials did not put Gadzhiev on the clock during a second period that saw him give up more ground than the opening stanza. He also had no dedicated attacks. Oliver attempted to rally but came up short, 3-2.

That means that the United States will not have a representative at 65 kg in men's freestyle.

In addition to Oliver, a handful of wrestlers that attended college in the United States, but represented other nations, were. Most notably, David Habat (Slovenia/Edinboro), and Mitch Finesilver (Israel/Duke). Habat wrestled right before Oliver and did not have enough firepower to run down Georgios Pilidis (Greece), while Finesilver was directly after Oliver and was defeated by Vasyl Mykhailov (Ukraine) at 74 kg. The trio will wrestle for bronze on Friday.

Additionally, Sebastian Rivera (Puerto Rico/Rutgers), Malik Amine (San Marino/Michigan), and Domenic Abounader (Lebanon), were in action. Abounader won his opening bout, while Rivera and Amine dropped theirs.

No American women will be in action tomorrow as all six weights have been qualified for Tokyo. Jesse Porter (77 kg) and Adam Coon (130 kg) will take the mat on Saturday in search of Olympic berths in Greco-Roman.


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ban basketball (1) about a month and a half ago
I'll post this again, as I really want to know why.

I asked this in two other stories, but why did Oliver, after apparently "winning his spot" on the Olympic team, have to wrestle an Olympic qualifier, when none of our other wrestlers who made the team had to do that?
Pish (1) about a month and a half ago
Not 100% sure but pretty sure past World Medalists automatically qualified the weight, and others has to go to tournaments to qualify the weight. I recall Taylor had to go and qualify 86kg last year. Zain did as well at 65kg but didn't place high enough to qualify the weight. Not sure if Yianna tried to qualify it or basically you either qualify via placement in last worlds or go and qualify at a qualifier tournament. I'm sure Earl could answer more eliquently but that's how I think it happened
ban basketball (1) about a month and a half ago
I appreciate your reply, but that wouldn't explain Steveson. Unless I missed it, I don't think he's ever won a world medal.
GDeLeonJr (1) about a month and a half ago
The weight class was not qualified during the Pan Am Championships where the top 2 finishers qualify the country for the Olympics. Zane Rutherford took 3rd. And we did not place high enough for the weight to make the olympics. This was the last chance qualifier for all countries and probably more difficult than any specific regional tourney.
ban basketball (2) about a month and a half ago
Thanks. maybe that's always been the case-for some reason, I doubt it-but that just seems asinine. The Olympics ARE the Olympics, and the all members of the best team that a country can bring to the party ought to be repping that country.

I haven't paid attention to it for years anyway, but this is more reason for me to pay zero attention to it this year.
GDeLeonJr (2) about a month and a half ago
It’s been this way for quite a while. Wrestling is still an individual sport. So it makes less sense that you qualify by country. What’s beautiful about Olympic Wrestling is that there are 64 medals available and the sport has the number of countries that have a medalist. Yes, you do have Russia and a few other countries that will have multiple medalists (especially on the women’s side). BUT there will at least a dozen or two with 1 gold/silver/bronze and that individual becomes an instant Hero. That defines the Olympics.
BuckeyeWrestler2000 (3) about a month and a half ago
Everyone is pretty much on point. Past medalists from the previous World Championship automatically qualify the weight for the country regardless if that person made the U.S. Olympic team. I believe that Gwiz took Bronze last year at World's (could be off, just going off memory), but if Gable Steveson beat him then Heavyweight would have already been qualified as Pish mentioned. As GDeLeonJr noted, their are the continental qualifiers as well which can qualify a weight.
Once the continental qualifiers (Pan-Ams group North and South America together and another qualifier which groups Africa and "Oceania" which is Australia and New Zealand and includes Palau as well lumped in with them) are done, there is the "Last Chance Qualifier" for Nations who still haven't qualified their weight. Over the past three Olympic cycles, we've had the hardest time qualifying the weight around 65kg.

To answer your question about "qualifying the weight", Ban Basketball, it's mostly due to TV time and limiting the size of the tournament. There used to be an opening for any country. It's along the same lines of why overtimes were eliminated and bronze medalists matches for a "true third" no longer exist in wrestling, boxing, and Tae Kwon Do -- the extra match time and bronze matches took up too much television space. With more programs needing to fit a specific time slot, tournaments have been limited like the World Cup in Soccer having only 32 teams allowed to compete instead of all the 200-plus nations worldwide, which is the biggest tournament for soccer. However, in the non-Olympic years, you could easily get many more participants in the World Championships than you do in the Olympics because there is no "qualifying the weight". Some wrestlers state that the World Championships are harder to win than the Olympics because there are bigger brackets with many tougher matches, but EVERYONE will note that they'd rather be an Olympic Gold Medalist than a World Champion because the Olympics is what everyone remembers. I've had many of the same questions over the years. I hope this info helps.
michaelmidiri (1) about a month and a half ago
Gotta be one of the toughest breaks in all of sports. Damn. Although let's not forget that Frank Molinari was in the same position leading up to Rio and some drug test failures got him in. Who knows.
ban basketball (1) about a month and a half ago
I appreciate both of your responses. I feel like I finally get how the world system works.

Can't beat the knowledge base of rasslin fans!
Pish (1) about a month and a half ago
My many qualifying events were there prior to last chance? In other words it seems dumb if there is only one qualifying event prior to the last chance event Jordan lost in. In other words, if Zain didn’t qualify the weight at Pan Ams why didn’t USA try to qualify the weight before yesterday? Or was there no other qualifiers?
Keyser Soze (1) about a month ago
Here is a link that shows how everyone that is qualified got there.
here is the 65 kg class that Jordan just missed out on. so the top 6 from worlds, and top two from following qualifiers: Pan Am, European, African/Oceania, Asian and World Olympic Games

65 kg/143 lbs.
2019 World champion – Russia (Gadzhimurad Rashidov)
2019 World silver medalist – Kazakhstan (Daulet Niyazbekov)
2019 World bronze medalist – India (Bajrang)
2019 World bronze medalist – Hungary (Iszmail Muszukajev)
2019 World fifth place – Japan (Takuto Otoguro)
2019 World fifth place – Mongolia (Tulga Tumur Ochir)
2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion – Cuba (Alejandro Enrique Valdes Tobier)
2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Argentina (Agustin Alejandro Destribats)
2021 European Olympic Qualifier champion – Armenia (Vazgen Tevanyan)
2021 European Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Azerbaijan (Haji Aliev)
2021 African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier champion – Senegal (Adama Diatta)
2021 African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier runner-up –Tunisia (Haithem Dakhlaoui)
2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier champion – Kyrgyzstan (Emazar Akhmataliev)
2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Iran (Amirmohammad Yasdanicherati)
2021 World Olympic Games Qualifier champion – Poland (Magomedmurad Gadzhiev)
2021 World Olympic Games Qualifier runner-up – Greece (Georgios Pilidis)