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Top 10 Youngest Olympic Wrestling Champs Of All Time

Photo: Tony Rotundo

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#10 Sanasar Oganisyan (Soviet Union)

20 years, 5 months, 24 days, Oganisyan is also the first Armenian freestyle wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal as he did in 1980. He won both the World Championships and World Cup the following year in 1981 but then suffered an injury to his back.

He would be out of the scene for a while undergoing recovery and was able to make the team for the 1984 Olympic Games. However he would not be able to participate due to the Soviet boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics. He was arguably the favorite to win gold here in a weight class that was won by Ed Banach.

There was not too much left for his career as he won the 1986 European Championships but sustained yet another injury to his back which sidelined him for another couple years. He would attempt to make the team for the 1988 Olympic Games but did not make the team.

#9 Shazam Safin (Soviet Union)

20 years, 3 months, 24 days, Safin won the 67kg weight class at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952. There is not much out there about Safin as he only has one gold medal to his name which was at the Olympic Games.

He would go on to take bronze at the 1953 world championships which were held in Naples. However this would be the last medal of his competitive career.

#8 Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russia)

20 years, 3 months, 11 days, Sadulaev is the best wrestler in the world right now and honestly it is not a very close competition between him and the next guy in his weight who is also an Olympic Champ. Nicknamed “The Tank” Sadulaev has a senior level career record of 144-2 and he is only 26 years old with 7 gold medals (2 Olympic, 5 World).

The first bout that Sadulaev lost was actually his senior level debut where he was suplexed and teched by Gamzat Osmanov of Azerbaijain in under 2 minutes. He would also lose the 2017 World Finals this time bumping up a weight class to create one of the most anticipated super matches in history with him and Kyle Snyder of the USA. Snyder would score late and seemed to ware him down with size taking the match 6-5.

Since then Sadulaev was able to adjust to the weight class and has not lost a match. He would take out Snyder on 3 separate occasions the first being the next year in the finals where Sadulaev would pin the American, the Tokyo Olympics where Sadulaev would win 6-3 suffering a leg injury, and the 2021 World Finals where Sadulaev would cap off his 3rd win over Snyder 6-0.

It is only a matter of time at the pace Sadulaev is going before he will get mentioned in conversations with guys like Buvaisar Saitiev and Aleksandr Medved.

#7 Kaori Icho (Japan)

20 years, 2 months, 10 days, Icho is by far the decorated wrestler on this list being the first ever wrestler to win 4 Olympic gold medals. Icho was part of the most dominant era of Japanese women’s wrestling. On teams with 16x World and Olympic Champion Saori Yoshida and 9x World and Olympic Champ Hitomi Obara.

Icho went undefeated at the Olympic Games since 2004 when it was introduced for women’s wrestling in 2004. As well as this she has the second most world and Olympic gold medals of any wrestler ever behind only her teammate Yoshida.

#6 Suren Nalbandyan (Soviet Union)

20 years, 1 month, 22 days, Nalbandyan was Armenian and competed at the 62kg and 68kg weight classes in the Greco-Roman divisions. He won gold at the 1976 Olympics and has a European gold and bronze to his name as well.

He would just miss out on a medal at the 1980 Olympics placing 4th and that would be the end of his wrestling career.

#5 Hamza Yerlikaya (Turkey)

20 years, 1 month, 18 days, Yerlikaya was a 2x Olympic Champion in the Greco-Roman division winning golds in 1996 and 2000. He wrestled from the 82kg weight division up to 96kg through the span of his career. As well as the two Olympic Golds he has 3 world titles along with a silver and bronze to add to the legacy.

He served in the military from 1996-1997 and was the only Turkish athlete to win a medal at the Olympic games while serving in the military. Yerlikaya was forced away from the sport in 2007 due to suffering fractures in his neck. He won the FILA wrestler of the century title in 1996.

#4 Toghrul Asgarov (Azerbaijan)

19 years, 10 months, 25 days, Asgarov won the 2012 Olympics at 60kg right after coming off a junior world title in 2011. He defeated 4x world champion Besik Kudhukov in the finals.

He actually took silver at the 2010 world championships at 17 years old in a bracket that contained Viktor Lebedev and Frank Chamizo. He lost to Lebedev in the finals. He would also win an Olympic silver medal in 2016.

He was suspended for a year for doping in 2017 getting caught with higenamine.

#3 Islambek Albiev (Russia)

19 years, 7 months, 15 days, Albiev won the gold medal in the Greco-Roman division at 60kg in Beijing. He won the world championships a year later in Herning and would take silver in 2013.

He would not wrestle in the 2012 Olympics due to not making the team and would take 9th in the 2016 Rio Olympics after winning Euros the same year.

#2 Saban Trstena (Yugoslavia)

19 years, 7 months, 9 days, Currently resides in North Macedonia but competed for Yugoslavia. Trstena is a 2x Olympic medalist winning gold in 1984 and silver in 1988. He took bronze at the world championships in 1982 at 17 years old.

He has had solid performances at the European championships throughout his career winning 2 gold medals, 4 silver medals, and 2 bronze medals. In 1984 he was declared the best athlete in Yugoslavia and in 200 he was announced as the best Albanian athlete of the century.

He has a career record of 715-26 (Wikipedia)

#1 Xu Wang (China)

18 years, 10 months, 27 days, There was not much to find about Wang but she is the youngest Olympic Champion of all time and the only one to win it before the age of 19. She only has one gold medal to her name which was the Athens gold.

She would lose her spot heading into the Beijing Olympics to Wang Jiao who would go on to win gold herself.

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