Jake Herbert “officially” came up short for a medal at 185 pounds

Jake Herbert, like many a wrestler, has heard to never put a possible victory in the hands of an official. The 185-pound native of Pennsylvania sadly was reminded of that sermon Saturday in the ExCel Arena where officials appeared to play a big part of his losing two of three matches in his first Olympic experience and failed to medal.

After defeating Cuba’s Humberto Arencibia, 1-4, 7-0, 1-1, in a Round of 16 matches, Herbert lost his quarterfinal to Azerbaijan’s Sharif Sharifov, 4-0, 6-0, as official accentuated the shutout loss


The key point in the match came with 12 seconds left in a scoreless second period as the 2011 World champion shot in on Herbert with a double. It appeared that Herbert stopped the action and appeared to  reverse-gut Sharifov for three points, before giving up a couple exposure points of his own in the scramble that ensued.

But the officials, after a long deliberation and protest from the U.S. coaches ruled that Sharifov scored the points off his takedown and another two for exposure before one more point ended the period with a technical fall..

According to U.S. national coach Zeke Jones, the three-panel officiating jury overruled the mat officials’ call in favor of Sharifov, but a FILA official came down from the head table and trumped the jury’s call.

When Sharif Sharifov reached the gold medal match — which he later won — Herbert found himself found himself in repchage dealing with video replay and official’s interpretation in his 1-0, 1-4, 5-4 loss to Turkey’s Ibrahim Bolukbasi.

After splitting the first two periods, Bolukbasi took the 2-0 lead 30 seconds into the period off an exposure after a scramble. Herbert took Bolukbasi down six seconds later to pull within one. That’s when the officiating chaos started, again.

Herbert locked up a chest lock or high gut as some call it at the :46 mark, then appeared to turn the Turk for two exposure points, holding him there in that position for what appeared to be a fourth point. During that time the Turk had both hands on Herbert’s head in a full-nelson position, with the official slapping at his hands to tell him that was illegal.


Once the situation went to video review, the officials ruled that it was actually the Turk that had Herbert in the exposure situation with Herbert laying on his side. The Turk was given the initial two exposure points, plus one for holding him there. And they also awarded Herbert two for exposure out of the same sequence.

That “three-two” call in favor of the Turk moved the score to 5-3 on the board. Herbert wanted to protest. Jones, apparently gun shy from what happened in the semis, encouraged Herbert back to the center, confident that Herbert would be able to make up the difference.

The 2009 World silver medalist did put a point on the board with 17 seconds left, but fell short in the end … and without a medal.

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