The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
Scott beat nearly everyone, including his critics, for a bronze medal
LONDON, England — Coleman Scott faced more than international foes when he came here to compete in his first Olympic Games.
The Waynesburg, Pa., native also had to beat back the doubters in his own country … and the 132-pound freestyler used that criticism to drive him to a bronze medal at the ExCel Arena on Saturday evening.
“I read (the prediction that he would not medal) and I got (ticked) off,” said Scott, who did not earn the U.S. Olympic spot until early June, nearly six weeks after the Olympic Trials in April. “I thought to myself, ‘I haven’t done anything. They have the right to not think I’m a title contender.’
“I turned it into motivation because it made me so angry that Americans weren’t even putting me down as title contenders. I wanted to prove them wrong. I like doing that.”
And Scott also used that motivation to literally the final seconds of his bronze medal match against Japan’s Kenichi Kumoto.
Trailing 1-0 in the deciding third period, Scott went low on a double and scored with 15 seconds to tie the match after a couple other shots. Then with Yumoto working to create action as time ticked off the clock, Scott put him to his back in the final five seconds, winning 3-1 after the exposure points.
With three seconds to go, Scott —who lost the first period 1-0 and won the second frame, 3-0 — looked at the clock and starting slapping the mat as the Cowboy knew the bronze was his.
“I looked up and there was three seconds and I had him on his back,” said Scott, who had his former Oklahoma State college coach John Smith in his corner. “I couldn’t help myself. I wish I could have (held back). I looked over at Coach (Smith) and he was smiling. All the time he has put in for me, this was something I could give back to him as a coach.”
“Two or three months ago, it was an uphill battle just to make the team,” said Smith, well aware that his former NCAA champ had to beat two other former World competitors (Shawn Bunch and Reece Humphrey in the final Trial in New York City, June 7). “Through that process, it made him stronger, tougher. It gave him an opportunity to win a bronze medal here. I’m excited for him.
“You know this is what you’ve been training for. All the setbacks can pay of for you if you take it to another level. He’s been able to do that. It seems like his best matches come at the right time.”
Scott opened the tournament with two victories, including a second-period fall against Georgian Malkhaz Zarkua in the quarterfinals, before finally suffering a 1-0, 4-0 loss to Azerbaijan’s Toghrul Asgarov.
“I didn’t come to wrestle,” Scott said. “It wasn’t my best performance.”
But when it came to winning his first Olympic this Scott was great when it mattered.