photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com
With the delay of the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, we’re forced to wait another year until another crop of wrestlers etch their name into the history books for their respective nations. A lot can change in a year, especially on the international wrestling scene. Much less, three or four years. With that being said, we’re going to look at the 72 medalists across all three styles at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro to see what they’ve done since. Some have moved up or even down in weight, while others have not had the same level of success, and a few have announced their retirement.
57 kg Men’s Freestyle
Gold: Vladimir Khinchegashvili (Georgia) – Moved up to 61 kg for the 2017 World Championships and took bronze. Since has competed at 65 kg missing out on medals at world’s in 2018 and 2019. Won bronze at Europeans in 2018.
Silver: Rei Higuchi (Japan) – Moved up to 61 kg for the 2017 Asian Championships and won bronze. Won U23 World Championships in 2018 at 65 kg. Took fifth in 2018 at the Japanese Championships at 65, but won the gold the next year at 57 kg.
Bronze: Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan) – Took gold at 61 kg at the 2017 World Championships. Moved up to 65 kg for the 2018 World Championships and missed out on a medaling, as he did in 2019, as well. Won the European Championships at 65 in both years, however.
Bronze: Hassan Rahimi (Iran) – Competing at the 2017 World Cup at 57 kg, but announced his retirement as a 29-year-old in 2019.
65 kg Men’s Freestyle
Gold: Soslan Ramonov (Russia) – Moved up to 70 kg and won the World Military Championships in 2017 and 2018, but has not made a world team since. He was back at 65 kg early this year at the Ivan Yarygin and took silver.
Silver: Togrul Asgarov (Azerbaijan) – Competed sparingly since the 2016 Games. Fell to Jordan Oliver in 2018 at Beat the Streets NY event while wrestling at 70 kg.
Bronze: Frank Chamizo (Italy) – Moved up to 70 kg in 2017 and won his second world title. Moved up again in 2018 to 74 kg where he fell to Jordan Burroughs in the bronze medal match at the World Championships. Took silver at the World Championships in 2019. Has won three European gold medals and a bronze since 2016.
Bronze: Ikhtiyor Navruzov (Uzbekistan) – Jumped up to 70 kg in 2017 and has competed almost exclusively at the weight since. Has had three top-ten finishes at the ensuing World Championships, but no medals. Made the Asian finals in both 2017 and 2018, winning the gold in 2018.
74 kg Men’s Freestyle
Gold: Hassan Yazdani (Iran) – Went up two weight classes to 86 kg for the 2017 World Championships and took home the gold. Was defeated in 2018 by David Taylor at world’s and came away with bronze. Won gold at the 2019 tournament, with Taylor’s absence.
Silver: Aniuar Geduev (Russia) – Was said to be moving up to 86 kg but has not competed in major events since. At 33, he’s probably retired at this point.
Bronze: Jabrail Hasanov (Azerbaijan) – When the 79 kg weight class was introduced in 2018, Hasanov moved up and made the world finals opposite Kyle Dake. Took the silver in 2019 to Dake, also. Has won a European title and two bronzes since 2016.
Bronze: Soner Demirtas (Turkey) – Remained at this weight class and took a World bronze medal in 2017 and wrestled for bronze in 2018. Finished 12th in the world in 2019. Has won two European gold medals and a bronze in the time since 2016.
86 kg Men’s Freestyle
Gold: Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russia) – Moved up to 97 kg and lost to Kyle Snyder in the 2017 World finals. Went on to win the next two world titles and that remains his only loss in this cycle. Grabbed three European gold medals during this time, also.
Silver: Selim Yasar (Turkey) – Was seventh in the world at this weight in 2017. Has not made a world team since. Did win the European bronze medal in 2017 and won the Yasar Dogu in early 2020.
Bronze: J’Den Cox (USA) – Remained at this weight in 2017 and brought home another bronze. With the addition of the 92 kg weight class in 2018, Cox has won the last two World titles. Plans to compete at 97 kg for the Olympic Trials in 2021.
Bronze: Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan) – In 2018, Sharifov went up to 92 kg but did not medal at the World Championships. He continued to move up in weight and competed at 97 kg at world’s in 2019. There he defeated Snyder in the semis before settling for silver. In 2018 and 2019, Sharifov made the European finals at 92 kg, winning gold in 2019.
97 kg Men’s Freestyle
Gold: Kyle Snyder (USA) – Kyle defeated Sadulaev in the 2017 world finals to lead the US to a team title. He met Saduaev in the 2018 finals but was pinned. Last year, Snyder took the bronze for the first time.
Silver: Khetag Gazyumov (Azerbaijan) – Gazyumov is 37 years old and hasn’t competed internationally since the 2016 Olympics.
Bronze: Albert Saritov (Romania) – 2019 was the year in which Sartiov competed at the World Championships since the Olympics (he was 17th). In 2020, Saritov turned in some good results winning the Yasar Dogu and the Henri DeGlane and taking silver at the European Championships.
Bronze: Magomed Ibragimov (Uzbekistan) – Has been Uzbekistan’s representative at the last three world championships, but has not come away with a medal. He wrestled for the bronze in 2018. Ibragimov has won a pair of Asian gold medals this quad.
125 kg Men’s Freestyle
Gold: Taha Akgul (Turkey) – In 2017 Akgul came away from the World Championships with a silver medal, as he also did in 2019. He also picked up three European gold medals in each of the last three years.
Silver: Komeil Ghasemi (Iran) – Ghasemi did not make a world team after the 2016 Olympics and announced his retirement in 2019, as a 31 year-old.
Bronze: Geno Petriashvili (Georgia) – Petriashvili has come into his own since the Olympics. In 2017 he won the U23 World Championship along with a Senior world title. He has captured gold at the world’s in the following two years, as well.
Bronze: Ibrahim Saidau (Belarus) – Saidau has competed at world’s once since 2016, taking 11th at the 2018 tournament. His best performance since the Olympics was in January when he made the finals of the Henri Delglane.
48 kg Women’s Freestyle
Gold: Eri Tosaka (Japan) – Tosaka has competed at 50kg in 2018 and 2019 taking third place at the Japanese Championships.
Silver: Mariya Stadnik (Azerbaijan) – In 2019, Stadnik remarkably captured her first world title since she did so a decade earlier, in 2009. She also took the silver at 50 kg in 2018.
Bronze: Elitsa Yankova (Bulgaria) – Yankova has competed sparingly since the Olympics and has not been involved in a world championship event. Since then, her best finish was a bronze in 2017 at the Grand Prix of Spain.
Bronze: Yanan Sun (China) – Sun has wrestled in the world championships twice since 2016. In 2018 she won bronze at 50 kg, while she wrestled for a medal in 2019, before falling to fifth-place. Also in 2019, Sun was a silver medalist at the Asian Championships.
53 kg Women’s Freestyle
Gold: Helen Maroulis (USA) – After her remarkable upset in the gold medal match at the 2016 Olympics, Maroulis followed up with another world title in 2017, dominating the field. She was injured at the 2018 World Championships and did not compete in 2019. Helen intends on returning for 2021 up at 57 kg.
Silver: Saori Yoshida (Japan) – Yoshida did not compete for some time after the loss to Maroulis in the 2016 Olympics. The three-time Olympic gold medalist officially retired in 2019 at the age of 36.
Bronze: Sofia Mattsson (Sweden) – Though she has not gotten back to the medal stand on the world level since the Olympics, Mattsson has still been active. She competed in the World Championships in 2018 and 2019, with her best finish coming in 2018 when she was seventh. Last year, Sofia was a bronze medalist at the European’s.
Bronze: Natalya Sinishin (Azerbaijan) – After the Olympics, Sinishin moved up to 58 kg for the European Championships, in 2017, where she took fifth. Sinishin was at 55 kg for the 2017 World Championships, where she was 18th. She has not competed at a major event since.
58 kg Women’s Freestyle
Gold: Kaori Icho (Japan) – Icho made history in Rio by winning her fourth Olympic gold medal. She attempted to make the 2019 World Team but was stopped by Risako Kawai, who went on to capture her third world title.
Silver: Valeria Koblova-Zholobova (Russia) – Valeria was very active during the 2017 calendar year winning a Russian title and taking seventh in Europe. She was 24th at the World Championships, but has not seen action in a major event since.
Bronze: Marwa Amri (Tunisia) – When Amri won the bronze in 2016, she became the first African woman to medal in wrestling at the Olympics. She improved in 2017 and was able to make the world finals at this weight, opposite of Maroulis. Amri competed in the World Championships in both 2018 and 2019, but did not come close to medaling.
Bronze: Sakshi Malik (India) – After the 2016 Olympics, Malik went up to 60 kg for the 2017 World Championships where she was 14th. She moved up to 62 kg the next year. Malik was India’s representative at world’s in 2018 and 2019 but finished no higher than 12th. She has won a pair of silvers and bronzes at the Asian Championships in the ensuing years.
63 kg Women’s Freestyle
Gold: Risako Kawai (Japan) – Since winning gold in Rio, Kawai has not slowed down at all. She has won the last three world championships, each at different weights. 60 kg in 2017, 59 kg in 2018, and 57 kg in 2017. Kawai won her fourth career Asian Senior gold medal in February.
Silver: Maria Mamashuk (Belarus) – Mamashuk has been relatively active since 2016, but she has not been able to grab another world-level medal. Her best finish was in 2018 when she was fifth at 68 kg. She has almost exclusively competed at that weight since Rio.
Bronze: Ekaterina Larionova (Kazakhstan) – After not competing in 2017, Larionova moved up to 68 kg for her return in 2018. She was 11th at the 2018 World Championships, which was her only world-level tournament of the quad.
Bronze: Monica Michalik (Poland) – Michalik hasn’t competed in a world championship event since the Olympics, but she was a European champion in 2017 at this weight. She went up to 68 kg in 2018 and took fifth in the continent.
69 kg Women’s Freestyle
Gold: Sara Dosho (Japan) – Following her gold medal performance in Rio, Sara added another at the 2017 World Championships. Sara was Japan’s representative at the 2019 World Championships and took fifth at 68 kg. Earlier this year, Dosho defeated 2019 World Champion Miwa Morikawa in a wrestle-off for the 2020 Olympic spot.
Silver: Natalya Vorobieva (Russia) – After being out of action for two-plus year following the 2016 Olympics, the legendary Vorobieva came back to compete in 2019 and captured her second world title. She’ll be seeking her second Olympic gold in 2021, as she won the 2012 Games.
Bronze: Jenny Fransson (Sweden) – Fransson has been a fixture in the upperweights for Sweden over the last quad. She primarily has competed at 68 kg, but has moved to 72 on occasion. In 2018, Fransson won the first European title, at the Senior level, in her illustrious career. Last year she got back on the medal stand by getting a silver at World’s.
Bronze: Elmira Syzdykova (Kazakhstan) – Like Fransson, Syzdykova has been extremely active over the past four years. Twice she has advanced to the bronze medal match at the World Championships, only to fall just shy. Among other accomplishments, Syzdykova has a pair of bronzes from the Asian Championships since 2016.
75 kg Women’s Freestyle
Gold: Erica Wiebe (Canada) – After missing the majority of 2017, Erica Wiebe was back for the 2018 when she won five tournaments, before taking bronze at the World Championships. There she fell in a close match to Adeline Gray. Last year, Wiebe dropped to ninth at World’s after winning the City of Sassari and Bill Farrell.
Silver: Gouzel Manyurova (Kazakhstan) – Manyurova hasn’t competed since the 2016 Olympics. At 42 years old, it’s safe to say she’s probably retired.
Bronze: Ekaterina Bukina (Russia) – Bukina did not compete in any major events during 2017, but has been fairly active since. Though she does not have any world medals to her credit in the last couple of years, she captured a European gold medal earlier in 2020 and a silver in 2018.
Bronze: Fengliu Zhang (China) – Zhang wrestled at the Golden Grand Prix a few months after the 2016 Olympics but has not been in any major competitions since the Games.
59 kg Greco-Roman
Gold: Ismael Borrero-Molina (Cuba) – After winning the gold medal in 2016, Borrero-Molina did not compete in 2017, but moved up to 67 kg in 2018, where he took 18th. A year later, he won a world title, also at 67 kg. Including 2020, Borrero-Molina has captured Pan-American championships in the last three years.
Silver: Shinobu Ota (Japan) – Ota had an excellent 2017 with a pair of tournament wins, though he didn’t compete at the World Championships. In 2018, Ota was at 60 kg and took ninth at worlds. He was able to claim his first world title in 2019 while competing at 63 kg. 2018 was the only year during this quad where he competed at the continental championships and he took gold at the Asian Championships and Asian Games.
Bronze: Stig Andre Berge (Norway) – Berge has been in action frequently since the 2016 Games, but he has never come close to medaling at a world-level event since. He has picked up a pair of silver medals at the European Championships. He also won a title at Thor Masters in 2019. This January, Berge was fifth in the continental championships.
Bronze: Elmurat Tasmuradov (Uzbekistan) – After the 2016 Olympics, Tasmuradov went up to 66 kg for 2017 and ended up out of medal contention at the World Championships. He moved back down to 63 kg for 2018 and made the world finals after winning gold at the Asian Championships. In 2019, he changed weights again, going down to 60 kg where he wrestled and lost in the bronze medal match in Nur-Sultan. Earlier this year, Tasmuradov won the Asian Championship at 63 kg.
66 kg Greco-Roman
Gold: Davor Stefanek (Serbia) – Stefanek hasn’t been overly active since the Olympics. The only World Championship event he competed in since then was the 2018 tournament, where he ended up taking silver at 67 kg. In early 2020, Davor was 12th at the European Championships while competing at 72 kg.
Silver: Migran Arutyunyan (Armenia) – Artuyunyan did not compete after the 2016 Games. He has pursued an MMA career with several professional fights since then.
Bronze: Rasul Chunayev (Azerbaijan) – Chunayev moved up to 71 kg for the 2017 season and was in the repechage at the 2017 World’s, but ultimately finished seventh. A year later, Rasual was a bronze medal winner at World Championships. Last year, Chunayev dropped back down 67 kg and he was 15th at the 2019 World’s.
Bronze: Shmagi Bolkvadze (Georgia) – At just 22, Bolkvadze captured a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics. He was able to compete in the U23 World Championships in 2017 and was able to win the world title. Bolkvadze has also entered the last three Senior World events but has not finished highers than 14th at any of those events.
75 kg Greco-Roman
Gold: Roman Vlasov (Russia) – The legendary Russian won his second Olympic gold medal in 2016, which was also his fourth World/Olympic title and fifth medal. While he has still been excellent, he hasn’t won a world medal since 2016. During this time, Vlasov has won a pair of gold medals at both the European Championships and Russian Nationals.
Silver: Mark Madsen (Denmark) – Mark moved up to 80 kg for the 2017 World Championships but he finished 17th. Even before the 2016 Olympics, Madsen has been competing in MMA. He has continued down that path and has ten professional fights (all wins), the most recent two have come in the UFC.
Bronze: Saeid Abdvali (Iran) – Since the Olympics Abdvali has been quite good. At the last three World Championships he has wrestled for a medal, winning bronze at two of them. The most recent two came at 82 kg. Abdvali also won the Asian Championships in 2019, the only year during this quad which he entered the event.
Bronze: Hyeon-Woo Kim (South Korea) – Kim has been very consistent since his medal winning Olympic performance in 2016. He has grabbed another world medal since, taking bronze in 2018. Although he didn’t have a great world tournament in 2019, he did win the Asian Championships, the City of Sassari, while earning bronze at the Grand Prix’s of Hungary and Zagreb.
85 kg Greco-Roman
Gold: Davit Chakvetadze (Russia) – The year after his Olympic gold medal, Chakvetadze wrestled for the bronze at the World Championships, but lost. While he has been strong, he has not competed at the world’s since. Chakvetadze was a finalist at the 2018 Russian Nationals, then won the event in 2019.
Silver: Zhan Belenyuk (Ukraine) – In the 2015 World Championships, Belenyuk was able to win gold for the first time. In the next three years, he followed with silver medals at the Olympics and World’s in 2018. Belenyuk got back to the top of the mountain in 2019 with another world gold. Also in 2019, Zhan won the European Games and Championships.
Bronze: Denis Kudla (Germany) – Kudla was only 21 when he medaled at the 2016 Olympics and continues his ascent on the Greco front. He was a world silver medalist in 2017 and added another bronze in 2019. Kudla also has European bronze medals from the last two years the event was held.
Bronze: Javid Hamzatov (Belarus) – Hamzatov has moved up the 97 kg weight class. He did return to the 2017 World Championships at 85 kg, but finished 27th. While the Belarussian has competed sporadically (even into 2019) at 97 kg, he has not entered a World Championship event since 2017.
98 kg Greco-Roman
Gold: Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia) – The “White Bear” added to his collection of gold medals in 2017 when he won the World Championships, as well. That gives him four World/Olympic golds. Last year, he took bronze at 97 kg in Nur-Sultan. In February, Aleksanyan captured his fifth European Championship.
Silver: Yasmany Lugo-Cabrera (Cuba) – Cabrera has not competed in a world-level event since the Olympics. He hasn’t wrestled at a major event since 2018, either. At the beginning of of 2018, he wrestled in a pair of tournaments at 130 kg, but he was back down to 97 for the Central American and Caribbean Games.
Bronze: Cenk Ildem (Turkey) – Ildem had a big 2019 where he came away with bronze medals at both the European and World Championships. It was his only world championship event since the 2016 Olympics. Prior to 2019, most of his results could be classified as “solid but not spectacular”.
Bronze: Ghasem Rezaei (Iran) – The three-time Olympian (2012 gold medalist) Razaei has not competed since the 2016 Games. At almost 35 years old, its probably safe to assume he’s retired.
130 kg Greco-Roman
Gold: Mijain Lopez (Cuba) – Lopez elevated himself to one of the ranks of the greatest Greco wrestlers of all-time when he captured his third Olympic gold medal in Rio. He has seen action in a few events since then, but no world championships. Lopez initially stated he would retire after the 2020 Olympics, but he has revised that statement. He’ll pursue another gold medal in 2021 and then hang up the shoes at 38.
Silver: Riza Kayaalp (Turkey) – With Lopez out of the picture for the last three-plus years, Riza Kayaalp has taken control of the weight. Kayaalp has won world titles in both 2017 and 2019 to give him four for his career. He also holds ten World/Olympic medals.
Bronze: Sergey Semenov (Russia) – Sergey Semenov just turned 21 a few days before he won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics. The next year he won the gold at the U23 World Championships. Then in 2018, Semenov won his first world title at the Senior level by downing Adam Coon. Last year, in Nur-Sultan, Semenov was 17th at the World Championships.
Bronze: Sabah Shariati (Azerbaijan) – Shariati was Azerbaijan’s representative at the World Championships in 2017 and 2018, but placed 16th and 14th, respectively. In 2020, Shariati won the Henri Deglane and was eighth at the European Championships.