Photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo.
Jordan Oliver has been a standout Senior level men’s freestyle competitor throughout his international career. Despite his numerous successes, making a U.S. Senior World or Olympic Team have been the primary achievements to allude the soon-to-be 31-year-old and former two-time NCAA champion for the Oklahoma State.
Last month, though, in Fort Worth, Texas, Oliver put together the best Olympic Team Trials performance of his career. He defeated Joey McKenna in the best-of-three championship finals at 65 kilograms (143 pounds), earning the right to call himself a 2021 Olympian.
Oliver went a perfect 4-0 in Texas, defeating Penn State national champion Nick Lee and Cornell two-time NCAA champ Yianni Diakomihalis on Friday before beating McKenna twice on Saturday to claim the title. Oliver was winless in his last two OTT events in 2012 and 2016. This time though, he looked strong, outscoring a trio of quality opponents 20-9 along the way,
However, unlike many of the 2021 OTT champions that were crowned Saturday, April 3, at Dickies Arena, Oliver’s path to Tokyo isn’t complete just yet. To officially punch his ticket to the 2021 Olympic Games, Oliver must place in the top two at the World Olympic Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria, this week.
Action will officially get underway for Oliver tomorrow and possibly extend to Friday, depending on how Oliver performs.
The 65 kg field at this event is no walk in the park. With a field of 28 entrants, it will take four consecutive wins to qualify the weight for Team USA. There is an abundance of equally qualified and credentialed competitors, including some familiar NCAA studs competing for other nations.
Oliver will open with Ruhan Rasim of Bulgaria, who was eighth in the 2021 Europeans. If he wins, he will battle the winner of 2016 Olympian Junsik Yun of Korea and 2020 Asian champion Ilyas Bekbulatov of Uzbekistan.
The event will be broadcast live on FloWrestling. Brackets can be found here on United World Wrestling and FloWrestling.
WORLD OLYMPIC GAMES QUALIFIER
At Sofia, Bulgaria,
First-round draw for Thursday
65 kg – Jordan Oliver, Chapel Hill, .N.C (Sunkist Kids/Tarheel RTC)
Vs. Ruhan Hyusnyu RASIM (BUL) – 8th in 2021 Europeans
Second-round draw if Oliver wins the opening bout
Vs. Winner of Junsik YUN (KOR) vs. Ilyas BEKBULATOV (UZB)
Junk YUN (KOR) – 2016 Olympian, 3rd in 2014 Asian Games, 2x Senior World Team member
Ilyas BEKBULATOV (UZB) – 2020 Asian champion, 2017 European champion for Russia, 2018 Yarygin champ
Other top competitors in Oliver’s half-bracket
Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL) – 2017 World silver medalist, 2019 World bronze medalist, 2016 Olympian
Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) – 2019 World champion, 2nd in 2016 Worlds, 5th in 2018 Worlds, 2x European silver medalist
Niurgun SCRIABIN (BLR) – 2nd in 2020 Europeans, 9th in 2018 Senior Worlds
Hor OHANNESIAN (UKR) – 3rd in 2019 European Games, 2x World Team member
Jordan Oliver schedule
(local time in Sofia is seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone)
Thursday, May 6
Qualification rounds (10 am local time/3 am U.S. Eastern Time)
Semifinals (7 pm local/12:00 noon U.S. Eastern Time)
Friday, May 7
Repechage (10 am local time/3 am U.S. Eastern Time)
Medal matches (4:45 pm local/9:45 am U.S. Eastern Time)
Of note, this event qualifies the nation to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, not the individual. However, since Oliver won 65 kg’s at OTTs, he’ll be the representative for Team USA this summer.