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Muradov beats out gold medalist, wins his own

Muradov beats out gold medalist, wins his own

Shirvani Muradov, a 23-year-old Russian who was competing in juniors only last year, won the Olympic freestyle wrestling gold medal at 96 kilograms (211 1/2 pounds) on Thursday.
Muradov defeated Taimuraz Tigiyev of Kazakhstan 1-0, 1-0 for the medal. Both periods were tight, but Muradov's blanketing defense created just enough room for him to score the only two points he needed to win.
To compete in Beijing, Muradov beat out 2004 Olympic champion and three-time reigning world champion Khadshimourad Gatsalov. Gatsalov had won every major world title since 2004 and would have been a huge favorite to win a second gold.
Muradov beat Gatsalov in the Yarygin tournament in Russia last winter and at the Russian nationals in June to move onto wrestling's most difficult-to-make first team.
Still, benching such an accomplished wrestler was a huge risk given Muradov's age and relative inexperience. The 23-year-old has never won a world championship aside from a junior title last year.
The bronze medal winners were George Gogshelidze of Georgia, which got a gold medal from Revazi Mindorashvili at 84 kg (185 pounds) minutes before, and Khetag Gazyumov of Azerbaijan.
United States medal hopeful Daniel Cormier was hospitalized with severe dehydration after having trouble making weight and did not compete. Cormier was third in the world last year and was the only returning U.S. freestyle wrestler from the 2004 Olympics.
Cormier, long known for his struggles in making weight, had trouble cutting the last few days before the weigh-in. He spent Wednesday night receiving intravenous fluids, but was discouraged by family members from competing.
Doctors were concerned that even warming up might significantly worsen Cormier's condition.
"He definitely had a physical breakdown," U.S. freestyle coach Kevin Jackson said.
Cormier, fourth in Athens in 2004, was the captain of the U.S. freestyle team.