Former Penn State wrestler David Taylor, a three-time All-American, defeated three Olympic medalists in two days at the Freestyle World Cup. But it wasn’t quite enough as Iran’s wrestling team Friday defeated the United States to secure the gold medal.
FloWrestling.com labeled Taylor “unquestionably the wrestler of the tournament” and as the United States’ “hero.”
Taylor’s most-impressive win may have been his final one. Against Iran’s Hassan Yazdani — an Olympic gold medalist — Taylor came back to pin him.
But, during the final matches, Iranian wrestlers still sealed a 5-3 victory against their American guests in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah. State TV broadcast the matches live.
The Iranians won at the 57, 61, 65, 70 and 125 kilogram divisions, while the American wrestlers won 74, 86 and 97 kilogram divisions.
The U.S. wrestling team reached the final matches after defeating Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan in group A of the competition. Iran defeated Turkey, India and Mongolia in group B over two days to reach the final.
Following their win, hundreds of Kermanshah residents poured into the streets, with drivers honking their cars horns, to celebrate the victory, Iranian media reported.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also issued a statement to offer his congratulations, the official IRNA news agency reported.
During the competitions, Iranian spectators warmly welcomed the American wrestlers, and many took selfies with them.
Earlier in February, Iran reversed its position and allowed U.S. wrestlers to participate in the competition following an earlier U.S. travel ban, now frozen, by President Donald Trump on nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran. American and Iranian wrestlers have frequently hosted each other in similar competitions.