The minus 30-degree Siberian temperatures this weekend were no indication of the heat of the competition at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
Former Penn State wrestler David Taylor made his debut in the tournament, widely regarded as one of the most prestigious and difficult in freestyle wrestling — and left with a gold medal.
The two-time NCAA national champion and two-time Hodge Trophy winner pinned his opponent, Fatih Erdin of Turkey, in 2:00 on Sunday to become only the 12th U.S. man to win a Yarygin title.
Taylor gave up the first two points by way of a front headlock roll from Erdin, but countered with a takedown of his own to tie it 2-2 before turning his opponent and driving him down for the pin.
It was the second straight pin for Taylor, who also stuck Artur Naifanov of Russia in 2:27 in the semifinals.
His tournament run also included wins over two-time Pan American champion Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Selim Yasar.
Taylor was joined on the podium by fellow Team USA representative Kyle Snyder, whose gold medal at 97 kilograms made him the first U.S. man to win back-to-back Yarygin titles.
Snyder, a senior at Ohio State, will return to the U.S. to help his Buckeyes take on the Nittany Lions at Rec Hall on Saturday and finish his collegiate career.
With the win, Taylor gained 27 seeding points, which will help him toward his quest of securing the No. 1 seed at 86 kg in the world championships in Budapest in October.
Team USA finished the tournament with seven medals — including gold from Taylor, Snyder and womens’ freestyle star Tamyra Stock; silver medals from former Nittany Lion Frank Molinaro, Kyle Dake and Alli Ragen; and a bronze from Nick Gwiazdowski.