USA’s Steveson Scores Late To Win Wrestling Gold

Aug 6, 2021, 10:30 AM
CHIBA, JAPAN - AUGUST 06: Gold medalist Gable Dan Steveson of Team United States poses with the gol...
CHIBA, JAPAN - AUGUST 06: Gold medalist Gable Dan Steveson of Team United States poses with the gold medal during the Men's Freestyle 125kg medal ceremony on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Makuhari Messe Hall on August 06, 2021 in Chiba, Japan. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

CHIBA, Japan (AP) — With 10 seconds remaining, Gable Steveson trailed the biggest wrestling match of his life by three points.

When the clock hit zero, he was an Olympic gold medalist.

Steveson trailed Georgia’s Geno Petriashvili 8-5 with time running out. The 21-year-old American remained composed and took control against his more experienced opponent, scoring on a spin-behind takedown with 10 seconds remaining, then another with less than a second remaining to win the men’s freestyle 125-kilogram class final 10-8 on Friday night.

Steveson held up two fingers for two points after the move, but even he couldn’t believe what happened.

“I looked at the clock and it was like 0.3,” Steveson said. “And I was like, ‘Ain’t no way.’ And my head just like flushed with everything. And I was like, ‘Wow.’”

Georgia challenged the final points, to no avail. Steveson gained a point on the challenge, giving him five points in 10 seconds.

Steveson, who has aspirations of joining World Wrestling Entertainment, then played to the limited crowd. He walked around the mat with the U.S. flag draped over his shoulders, then dazzled with the backflip he saves for his biggest victories.

“You know, I put on a good show,” he said. “People are going to remember the name Gable Steveson.”

It looked as if Steveson might have another easy day. He outscored his opponents 23-0 in the first three rounds and dominated 2016 Olympic gold medalist Taha Akgul 8-0 in the quarterfinals.

Things got tougher in the final. Petriashvili, the No. 1 seed, is a three-time world champion who was an Olympic bronze medalist in 2016.

Steveson led the final 5-2 before Petriashvili scored on a single leg takedown and two gut wrenches to go up 8-5.

With the pressure on, Steveson came up with a plan to get the points he needed. It makes sense that he came through — he was named for American Dan Gable, the 1972 Olympic gold medalist and a former longtime college coach.

Now, the wrestling world awaits Steveson’s next move.

He could return to school for his senior season and cash in on the NCAA rules changes regarding name, image and likeness. Steveson was the heavyweight champion at the University of Minnesota this past season and shared the Dan Hodge Trophy for the nation’s best college wrestler. He already has some deals in place.

He has talked about joining World Wrestling Entertainment. He has known WWE manager Paul Heyman since he was in junior high, and he was photographed at WrestleMania with Heyman and pro wrestling star Roman Reigns. One of his mentors, Brock Lesnar, is a former pro wrestling and mixed martial arts champion.

Steveson isn’t ready to look ahead yet, saying he’s “living in my moment.” He said he’ll return home to Minnesota and decompress before making decisions.

“There’s a lot of possibilities for me with this gold medal,” he said. “A lot of doors opened after me winning a national title, and now the whole world is open for me to see after this Olympic gold medal.”

Steveson earned $250,000 for claiming the gold medal.

“I’ll probably go take my family out to eat,” he said. “We all got to eat steaks back at home. Probably buy my mom a Louis Vuitton purse. She deserves it.”

Akgul defeated Mongolia’s Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur 5-0 in a bronze medal match at 125kg.

“I came here for back-to-back gold medals after Rio, but I had to settle for bronze,” he said. “I did my best, I think I was unlucky in the quarterfinals, but that can happen. An Olympic medal is still important and valuable.”

Iran’s Amir Dare defeated China’s Zhiwei Deng 5-0 in the other bronze medal match.

More gold could be coming for the United States. American Kyle Snyder, the returning Olympic gold medalist in the men’s 97kg freestyle class, will go for gold on Saturday. He defeated Turkey’s Suleyman Karadeniz 5-0 in a semifinal. He will face the Russian Olympic Committee’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev in the final. Sadualev, the No. 1 seed in this class, won gold at 86kg in 2016 and is a four-time world champion.

The Russian Olympic Committee’s Zaurbek Sidakov defeated Belarus’ Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau 7-0 to win wrestling gold in the men’s freestyle 74kg class.

American Kyle Dake defeated Italy’s Frank Chamizo 5-0 for bronze. Chamizo was the No. 1 seed, and both are two-time world champions. Dake beat 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs at the Olympic Trials to earn the spot on the team.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Dake said. “A lot of different battles went into it, and a little bit of a gut check to go get a medal.”

Uzbekistan’s Bekzod Abdurakhmonov defeated Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Kaisanov 13-2 to claim the other bronze at 74 kg.

Japan’s Mayu Mukaida rallied to beat China’s Qianyu Pang 5-4 and claim gold in the women’s freestyle 53kg class. It was Japan’s third gold in women’s wrestling.

Mongolia’s Bolortuya Bat Ochir and Belarus’ Vanesa Kaladzinskaya won bronze.

American Jacarra Winchester lost her bronze medal match 4-0 to Vanesa Kaladzinskaya in the 53kg freestyle class.

USA’s Sarah Hildebrandt led China’s Yanan Sun 7-1 at the break in the women’s 50kg freestyle semifinal, but Sun rallied in the final seconds to win 10-7. Hildebrandt will wrestle for bronze on Saturday.

KSL Olympics

A 2002 Winter Olympic sign sits outside Rice Eccles Stadium before the start of an college football...
EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer

Winter Olympics Focus On Climate Change, Rotating Hosts

To hear the world's Olympic leaders tell it, the bidding for future Winter Games has been jumbled by internal disputes.
2 months ago
Eddie Pells, AP

Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Bid More Likely For 2034

Recent meetings with the IOC have led U.S. officials to believe all signs point toward Salt Lake City bidding for the 2034 Winter Olympics.
8 months ago
Larry Lage, AP

Winter Olympics May Not Include Nordic Combined For 1st Time

The IOC is due to make a decision later this month about whether to allow women to compete in Nordic combined at the 2026 Games.
8 months ago
Stephen Wade, AP

Chinese Olympian Eileen Gu Working For Salt Lake Games Bid

Eileen Gu, who won two gold medals for China at the Beijing Olympics, has signed on to work for Salt Lake City's bid for the Winter Olympics.
8 months ago
Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold - Norway...
Associated Press

Russian Olympic Body Challenges Ban From Winter Sports Event

The Russian Olympic Committee has made an urgent appeal to overturn a ban on its athletes competing at a European winter sports festival in Finland.
11 months ago
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

2008, 2022 Olympic Games In Beijing See Many Differences

KSL's Alex Cabrero was one of the few NBC affiliate reporters who traveled to China for the 2022 Winter Olympics. He was also there for KSL, reporting on the 2008 Summer Olympics, and says the lasting legacy of 2022 will be very different.
12 months ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
USA’s Steveson Scores Late To Win Wrestling Gold