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Taymazov repeat freestyle 120 kg gold medalist

Taymazov repeat freestyle 120 kg gold medalist

Artur Taymazov of Uzbekistan repeated as the Olympic freestyle wrestling champion at 120 kilograms on Thursday, denying Russia its seventh wrestling gold medal in Beijing by defeating Bakhityar Akhmedov 3-0, 1-0.
Taymazov joined Russia's Mavlet Batirov (60 kg) and Buvaysa Saytiev (74 kg) as repeat freestyle gold medalists from Athens. Taymazov, 29, was a silver medalist in 2000. He also won world championships in 2003 and 2006, but always seems to be at his best in the Olympics.
"I think I cannot compare my three Olympics," he said. "Each Olympics was difficult for me. I'd like to give this medal to those who love, trust me and respect me. I'm very happy I did not disappoint them."
Taymazov bounced back from a third-place finish in the worlds last year that, by his standards, was a letdown.
"I have prepared for this moment for a long time," he said. "Nothing except a gold medal can satisfy me."
Akhmedov, despite his age and nearly blank resume, clearly expected more than the medal he got.
"Silver is not nothing. It's a certain result, but I had come here to win gold," he said.
Russia's six golds, including one at 96 kg on Thursday by the 23-year-old Shirvani Muradov, were one more than it won in Athens in 2004. Russia won three of the seven freestyle weights after taking six of seven in last year's world championships in Azerbaijan.
Akhmedov felt it should have been seven golds in Beijing.
"I want to apologize to my supporters because the national anthem of Russia did not sound here one more time," he said.
The bronzes went to 2000 gold medalist David Musulbes of Slovakia and Marid Mutalimov of Kazakhstan. Taymazov defeated Musulbes 1-0, 1-0 in a semifinal matchup of Olympic champions.
The 21-year-old Akhmedov, one of two Russian finalists Thursday who are 23 or younger, joined the national team earlier this year when 2007 world champion Beylai Makhov developed health issues. Russian news outlets reported it was mercury poisoning.
Akhmedov made an uncommon jump, from junior wrestling to the Olympic finals in one year, only to be denied a gold by one of the most skillful and seasoned super heavyweights to wrestle in any Olympics.
"I committed several mistakes," he said. "Maybe there was a lack of physical preparedness and experience."
Akhmedov narrowly got past Steve Mocco of the United States 0-1, 1-0, 2-0 in the quarterfinals by throwing Mocco out of a clinch to begin the overtime. He then defeated Mutalimov 6-0, 1-0.
Mocco went into the bronze medal bracket, but twice gave up 3-point throws and was beaten 3-1, 4-1 by Fardin Masoumi of Iran in the first of two matches he needed to win for a bronze.
The United States left Beijing with three wrestling medals, Henry Cejudo's freestyle gold medal at 55 kg and bronzes by Adam Wheeler (96 kg) in Greco-Roman and Randi Miller (63 kg) in women's wrestling. It was America's worst wrestling showing since it managed two medals, both silvers in freestyle, in 1968.