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By Mike Finn
(Editor’s Note: This is the sixth of 11 weekly previews of the of this summer’s Olympics in London. In last week’s WIN eNews, we looked at the 121-pound weight class in men’s freestyle after first examining women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman in previous weeks. Next week, WIN will preview the third of seven men’s freestyle weight classes — 145.5 pounds — before the start of the Games on August 5.
60 kilos / 132 pounds (Competition held August 11)
U.S. Entry: Coleman Scott, 26, Stillwater, Okla.
When this former NCAA champion from Oklahoma State won the Olympic Team Trials in April, there was no guarantee he would represent the United States in London this summer. The biggest reason is that the U.S. still had not qualified that weight class, which was why neither former World Team members Shawn Bunch (2009) nor Reece Humphrey (2011) competed at the Trials in Iowa City.
Fortunately for the U.S., Bunch did qualify the weight a few weeks after the Trials, which earned him a temporary top spot on a three-man ladder as the U.S. team determined its Olympic wrestler.
That happened on June 7, during the Beat the Streets Gala in New York City, where Scott first defeated Humphrey, 1-0, 0-1, 1-0, in a prelim to the Championship Series. Scott won the first period by finishing a single-leg takedown from the leg clinch after the two wrestled a scoreless two minutes. In the second period Humphrey countered with a late takedown, before Scott again prevailed with the leg clinch to score the decisive point in the third period.
That victory set up a best-of-three Championship Series against Bunch later that day and during the exhibition between the U.S. and Russia in Times Square … with Scott coming out on top by virtue of winning the third bout between these two in exciting fashion, 1-0, 5-0. (Scott won the first match 1-0, 0-1, 7-0 before Bunch forced the third match after defeating Scott, 1-1, 1-0, 1-0.)
Scott clinched his first Olympic berth on a five-point throw to end the second period in the deciding bout against Bunch.
This will also be the first time Scott — originally a native of Waynesburg, Pa. before earning four All-American honors at OSU (2005-08) — will compete on the World stage on the Senior level. Scott, a three-time Junior National champion, did compete at the 2006 Junior Worlds in Guatamala, but lost his only match to Jack Bond of Canada. In the last three World Team Trials, Scott finished third in each tournament, but did win the Dave Schultz Memorial tournament this winter.
• Besik Kudukhov, Russia — Kudukhov, who will turn 26 four days after this Olympic competition, also competed for Russia in the 2008 Olympics … but at 121 pounds where he earned a bronze medal — losing only to Japan’s Tomohiro Matasunaga (who lost the gold medal bout to USA’s Henry Cejudo) after first winning a World title in 2006 and finishing second in the 2007 Worlds at that weight class. Since moving up to 132 pounds, Kudukhov has won the last three World Championships and did not face any of America’s entries: Shawn Bunch in 2009, Mike Zadick in 2010, and Reece Humphrey in 2011. In fact, since joining the Senior circuit, Kuduhkov has never faced an American in Olympic or World competition.
• Vasyl Fedorishin, Ukraine — This will mark the third Olympic experience for Fedorishin, who finished fourth in the 2004 Games in Athens before claiming a silver medal in the 2008 Games in Beijing. In China he defeated USA’s Mike Zadick in a first-round match and eventually reached the finals before falling to Russian Mavlet Batirov. The 31-year-old Ukrainian first started competing on the highest World stage beginning in 2001 but never finished higher than fifth in five World competitions. Since the 2008 Olympics, he has a bronze (2009) and silver (2010), but failed to place in last year’s Worlds, where he was 1-1 and lost to 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Kenichi Yumoto.
• Franklin Gomez, Puerto Rico — This 26-year-old was better known as a three-time NCAA All-American and 2009 champion from Michigan State before returning to freestyle and representing his native country at the 2010 Worlds, where he lost his only match against Malkhaz Kurdiani from the country of Georgia. (Gomez moved to New York and then Florida — competing for Brandon High School — as a youngster before competing at Michigan State.) Then in the 2011 Worlds, Gomez earned his first medal (silver); beating 2009 World silver medalist Zelimkhan Huseinov of Azerbaijan before losing to Kudukhov in the finals.
• Seyed Mohammadi, Iran — This is a common last name for many Iranian wrestlers and this 32-year-old has been competing as a Senior on the world level since 2005. That year he earned a bronze medal before claiming gold in the 2006 Worlds, defeating Zadick in the title bout. Since then, the Iranian has competed in one Olympics (bronze, losing only to Batirov) and three Worlds (also finishing third in 2010.)