Provisor and Smith each go 0-1 in Greco Day 2

Updated: August 15, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — It was a bad day for American Greco-Roman wrestlers Ben Provisor and Robby Smith who were both eliminated after just one match each on the second day of Olympic wrestling at the Carioca 2 Arena on Monday morning.

But it may have been an even worse moment for USA Wrestling’s national program of upper-body wrestlers as the Greco-Roman program, which has not won a medal since 2008  (when Adam Wheeler earned a bronze at 211 pounds) and  will now regroup and be forced to look ahead four more years.

“I feel awful for these guys,” said USA Greco National coach Matt Lindland, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist, who completed his first Olympics as USA’s head coach. “They put in the work and made sacrifices. I’m inspired by these guys. They’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do.”

With Provisor losing 6-3 to Rustam Assakalov of Uzbekistan at 85k/187 pounds and heavyweight Robby Smith falling 8-2 to Sabah Shariati of Azerbaijan on Monday morning, it meant that USA Wrestling went a combined 2-4 in Greco-Roman competition this year.

Only four Americans competed in the six possible weight classes in this year’s Olympics as Jesse Thielke (59k/130) and Andy Bisek (75k/165) each went 1-1 on Sunday’s opening day of wrestling and the United States failed to qualify the weight classes of 145 and 216 pounds, which will be held Tuesday at the Carioca Arena 2.

Both Provisor and Smith took early leads in their first-round matches before falling … and were eliminated when their first-round foes eventually lost as well.

Provisor held criteria at 1-1 at 3:48 in the match against the 2015 World Silver medalist, before Assakalov took the lead 45 seconds later when the Azerbaijan wrestler scored five points from par terre after the native of Stevens Point, Wisc., was called for passivity. Four of those points came from a gutwrench where Provisor was picked off the mat and thrown.

Provisor was eliminated when Hungary’s Viktor Lorincz defeated Assakalov, 2-1, in the quarterfinals.

“I got a little flustered in the second period when they put me down in passivity,” admitted Provisor whose final two points came when Assakalov was called for passivity. “I stopped moving and let him throw me. It was my fault. I got caught in that lift and thrown.

“I sort of had the feeling he would have a hard time coming back. I broke him pretty well in that match. He could not even barely stand. I knew once I left that match that the potential of him finishing two more matches on top were not that great.”

This marked the second straight Olympics that Provisor failed to medal. Competing at 74 kilos in 2012, the 25-year-old went 1-1, but then dealt with many injuries that kept him out of wrestling until returning this winter.

“I just have to hope I can come back in four years and do it again,” Provisor said. “It sucks I couldn’t go as far in these tournament as I wanted to. The last three or four years I didn’t have the chance to be on this stage (because of injuries). I got on this stage, now I know I can bang with these guys. I just made one little mental mistake and let the ref get to me (when getting put down in passivity). I know if I hadn’t stopped moving in par terre, I could have easily beaten him.”

Smith took a 2-0 lead on an early arm-throw before giving up eight straight points on Shariati’s par terre advantage after the American was called for passivity a minute into the second period. Smith was eliminated when 2015 World champ Riza Kayaalp of Turkey pinned Shariati.

“I was prepared for this day,” said Smith, a first-time Olympian who finished fifth in last year’s World Championships. “This was the day I was waiting for my whole entire life. I thought I wrestled a very good match. I was prepared to go four matches today. It didn’t happen.

“Coming out in the second round, (Shariati’s) adjustment was to hold on and stall until he got a passivity. I should have moved my feet a little more…and then I got gutted. That’s my weakness. It is what is, I digress and I move on. I’m way better than what happened out there today.

“This team is way better than what it performed. I don’t know what happened out there. My whole team is amazing. We’re a band of brothers. We’ll come back stronger.”


Aug 15 • Greco-Roman •  Carioca Arena 2 • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ben Provisor

Ben Provisor

85 kg/187 lbs. – Ben Provisor, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

First round — lost to Rustam Assakalov (Uzbekistan), 6-3

Monday Finals Matchups

Gold – Zhan Beleniuk (Ukraine) vs. David Chakvetadze (Russia)

Bronze – Javid Hamzatau (Belarus) vs. Repechage 1 Winner

Repechage 1 – Nikolai Bayrakov (Bulgaria) vs. Ahmed Saad (Egypt)

Bronze – Viktor Lorincz (Hungary) vs. Repechage 2 Winner

Repechage 2 – Denis Kudla (Germany) vs. Repechage 1 Winner

Repechage 1 – Habibollah Akhlaghi (Iran) vs. Saman Tahmasebi (Azerbaijan)


Robby Smith

Robby Smith

130 kg/286 lbs — Robby Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

First round — lost to Sabah Shiarati (Azerbaijan), 8-2

Monday’s Medal Matches

Gold – Riza Kayaalp (Turkey) vs. Mijain Lopez Nunez (Cuba)

Bronze – Eduard Popp (Germany) vs. Repechage 1 Winner

Repechage 1 – Sabah Shariati (Azerbaijan) vs. Edwin Caraballo Cabrera (Venezuela)

Bronze – Sergey Semenov (Russia) vs. Repechage 1 Winner

Repechage 1 – Heiki Nabi (Estonia) vs. Johan Euren (Sweden)