World medalist Dlagnev looks for heavyweight gold in London

Updated: July 30, 2012

By Mike Finn

(Editor’s Note: This is the 11th and final weekly preview of this summer’s Olympics in London. In last week’s WIN eNews, we looked at the 211.5-pound weight class in men’s freestyle after first examining the six other weight classes in men’s freestyle and all the women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman classes in previous weeks. The wrestling competition of the Games will start on August 5. A complete preview of America’s entries in London can be found at


120 kilos / 264.5 pounds (Competition Date: Aug. 11)

 U.S. Entry: Tervel Dlagnev, 26, Arlington, Texas

Tervel Dlagnev (left) finished fifth in last year's Worlds after earning a bronze in 2009.

Even though Dlagnev was born in wrestling-rich country of Bulgaria, before moving to this country at the age of four, the heavyweight did not take up the sport of wrestling until high school … before he eventually ended up at Nebraska-Kearney and won two NCAA Division II championships (2007 and ’08). Since then, Dlagnev has excelled in freestyle, earning the first of two Worlds visits in 2009, when he won a bronze medal in Herning, Denmark. During those Worlds, Dlagnev finished 4-1, which included a victory of 2011 World champ Aleksey Shermarov of Belarus.

In 2010, Dlagnev lost the Worlds spot to former college-rival Les Sigman before earning a trip to the 2011 Worlds last September, when he finished fifth. Dlagnev opened with three straight wins, including a quarterfinal win over 2008 Olympic champion Artur Taimazov of Uzebekistan before losing to Shermarov and David Modzmanashvili of Georgia.


Top Medal Challengers

• Beylal Makhov, Russia — One year after countryman Bakhtiar Akhmedov won an Olympic silver medal, this Russian has been the World’s most consistent big man, winning consecutive World Championships in 2009 and 2010 before settling for a silver medal in the 2011 Worlds, when he lost to Aleksey Shermarov of Belarus.

• Aleksey Shermarov (Belarus) — Two years after losing to American Tervel Dlagnev in the 2009 Worlds, this Shermarov surprised many when he captured his first World championship last September when he upset two-time World champ Beylal Makhov of Russia.

• Ioannis Arzoumanidis, Greece — The Greek captured a pair of World bronze medals in 2009 and 2010.