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The U.S.’s Greco-Roman program has made plenty of changes, including the hiring of Matt Lindland to replace long-time U.S. National Team coach Steve Fraser.
And now the new-look Greco program also has a success story in Andy Bisek, who claimed the United States’ first World Championships medal since 2009. The 165-pound native of Chaska, Minn., defeated Japan’s Hiroyuki Shimizu (Japan), 8-0, in the bronze medal bout on Friday, Sept. 12, the first day of Greco-Roman competition in this year’s Worlds.
The last American to claim a World medal was heavyweight Dremiel Byers, who earned a silver medal at the 2009 Worlds.
Bisek, who failed to place in two previous Worlds (2011and 2013), opened with a 5-0 victory over Petros Maoulidis of Greece, 5-0, but it wasn’t until his second-round match against 2012 Olympic champion Ramon Vlasov of Russia that suggested that Bisek might claim a medal. In that bout, Bisek first scored a reversal after Vlasov lifted the American to tie the bout, 2-2, then rallied from a 5-2 deficit with two takedowns in the final 65 seconds to win the match, 6-6, on criteria by scoring last.
“This is the moment you train for,” Bisek told TheMat.com. “What better time than now to knock off the Russian and go win a medal. I hope this gives the rest of the team a boost. We want to win some more medals the next two days.”
“If you haven’t seen the match against Russia, you should watch it,” U.S. coach Matt Lindland said. “That was an incredible match. (Vlasov is) an Olympic and World champion and a multiple (time) medalist. Andy performed really well. We are excited about that.”
Unfortunately, Bisek’s chance at a gold medal ended when he lost 1-0 to Neven Zugaj of Croatia in the quarterfinals when the only point came when Bisek was called for passivity early in the second period.
But once Zugaj earned a spot in the gold-medal match, Bisek entered the repechage (consolation) round where he rallied from a 5-2 deficit to beat Veli-Karri Suominen of Finland, 6-5. That put Bisek in the bronze-medal match, which Bisek ended with a technical fall on three moves — chest lock, gut wrench and four-point lift — after the Japanese wrestler was placed in par terre two minutes into the bout.
Also competing for the United States in Greco-Roman on Friday was 187-pound Jordan Holm, who lost his one and only match, 5-0, to Rustam Assakalov of Uzbekistan. The native of Northfield, Minn., got caught in a front headlock in the first period of his match, and then was eliminated from competition when Assakalov lost two rounds later to Javid Hamzatau of Belarus, 6-0.
There are two days left in this year’s Worlds, with three Greco-Roman matches taking place on each day. Competing for the U.S. on Saturday will be Bryce Saddoris (66k/145.5), Joe Rau (80k/176 pounds) and Robbie Smith (130k/286 pounds).
On Sunday, the final three Americans to wrestle will be Spenser Mango (59k/130), Justin Lester (71k/156) and Caylor Williams (98k/216). Lester won bronze medals in the 2006 and 2007 Worlds.
2014 World Championships
Day 5 • Greco-Roman • Sept. 12
Gymnastics Palace, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Medal Matches in Greco Roman on Sept. 12
75 kg/165 lbs.
Gold Medal — Arsen Julfalakyan (Armenia) dec. Neven Zugaj (Croatia), 4-0
Bronze Medals — Andy Bisek (United States) won by TF over Hiroyuki Shimizu (Japan), 8-0
Elvin Mursaliyev (Azerbaijan) dec. Zurabi Datunashvili (Georgia), 1-1 (criteria)
85 kg/187 lbs.
Gold Medal — Melonin Noumonvi (France) dec. Saman Tahmasebi (Azerbaijan), 3-0
Bronze Medals — Zhan Beleniuk (Ukraine) dec. Ramsin Azizsir (Germany), 3-0
Viktor Lorincz (Hungary dec. Kristofer Johansson (Sweden), 3-0
U.S. results in Greco-Roman for Sept. 12
75 kg/165 lbs. – Andy Bisek, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Minnesota Storm)
Defeated Petros Maoulidis (Greece), 5-0
Defeated Ramon Vlasov (Russia), 6-6 criteria
Lost to Neven Zugaj (Croatia), 0-1
Defeated Veli-Karri Suominen (Finland), 6-5
Defeated Hiroyuki Shimizu (Japan) in bronze-medal match
85 kg/187 lbs. – Jordan Holm, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Minnesota Storm)
Lost to Rustam Assakalov (Uzbekistan), 5-0