Medal of four American wrestlers on the first day of the Greco-Roman wrestling in Lima

Patrick Smith celebrates at the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games on August 7, 2019 in Lima, Peru.

LIMA, Peru – Although the Lima 2019 Pan American Games were not an Olympic qualification for wrestling, USA Wrestling brought the best of the best back to Peru and won four medals at the Miguel Grau Coliseum on Wednesday. Minnesota native Patrick Smith won gold in the men’s 77kg Greco-Roman event. finals after beating Colombian Wuilexis Rivas by a 3-2 decision. Colorado native G’Angelo Hancock followed with a silver in the 97kg. finals after losing to Cuban Gabriel Rosillo by a 7-2 decision. Additionally, 2008 Olympian Ildar Hafizov and 2012 Olympian Ellis Coleman took bronze in the 60kg draft. and 67kg. divisions, respectively.

“It feels good,” Smith said. “The goal for the day was to be undefeated, and I managed to get him out. So that was awesome.

Led 2-0 at the end of the first round, Smith found a way to break through Rivas’ defenses. He managed to defeat his opponent to tie the score, 2-2. He later used his dynamism and stamina to push Rivas out of the playing field, winning the last point of the match.

“Hats off to him,” Smith said. “He wrestles really hard, at a high pace, just like me. And at that point, the two guys are going to do it all. At some point, there’s a decision someone makes, and they’re going to take it a little easier. And that’s when the other guy can capitalize. You train to be the guy who can outlast everyone else.

But while Smith found a way to finish, that wasn’t the case for Hancock in his gold medal game. Hancock took a 2-0 lead in the first round thanks to two penalty points Rosillo received for fouls. But after a tough four-point takedown by Rosillo early in the second round, Hancock looked too tired to make a comeback. Rosillo then managed to get Hancock out of the ring three more times before time ran out.

“I think every second you’re out there demands a lot from you,” he said. “It takes a lot of your time mentally when you’re on top of a guy and suddenly you collapse in one move. You’re like, “Wow, I’m working my tail to earn these points for points,” and you know, big moves happen. It’s part of the sport.

Nonetheless, Hancock says he hopes to face Rosillo again in the next world championships. There begins the Olympic qualification.

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“You never know how programming works,” he said. “But I hope so. The thing is, I want to take on the guys who challenge me. I want to face the guys who are tougher.

In Hafizov’s bronze medal match, he managed to score three successive two-point strikeouts against Mexican Emilio Perez. From there, the Uzbekistan native was able to control the game and clinch a possible 7-2 decision victory in point.

Of the four medal-winning American wrestlers, Coleman’s match was arguably the most exciting of the night. After trailing 1-0 for most of the game, the bronze medal seemed to be out of reach as he had to start at low par. However, Coleman managed to hold his position without conceding a single point.

“For me, I worked on this,” he said. “It was a great thing at the national level of wrestling, the par tarre. So for me, I just have to keep working that out, keep pushing that and figure out what each person is doing, so that I can get a head start on them instead of just going out there and defending for no reason. , and not knowing what to look for. “

All four wrestlers have expressed their desire to advance through qualifying and represent the United States at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“Olympic Games [are] something crazy, ”Hafizov said. “I have already won a medal at the Olympics. Now I have won a medal at the Pan Am Games. I need one more from the World Championships and the Olympics, definitely. “

“I went there in 2012,” Coleman said. “But it’s been a while, eight years later. It would be great for me. Kind of like my own Cinderella story.

“It’s the greatest honor I can have in my life,” Hancock said. “It’s been a dream since I was a kid. For the longest [I’ve] imagined, I wanted to be an Olympian.

“That’s the goal,” Smith said. “I write in my journal ‘2020 Olympian’ every day – twice a day. So that’s what we’re focusing on, and that’s what we’re aiming for. Hope I can bring it back to the United States.

Robert J. King