Photo: Tony Rotundo

14 Years Ago Today Mijain Lopez Won His First Olympic Gold Medal


14 years ago Mijain Lopez of Cuba would win his 1st Olympic Gold medal at the 2008 games in Beijing. He defeated Khasan Boroev of Russia who was the reigning Olympic Champion at the time who also defeated Lopez in the 2006 world finals, Lopez would go on to redeem that loss in the 2007 finals however.

At 25 years old nobody really knew how much longer he would keep going in the sport but looking back at this now it seems kind of crazy how good he looked at the Tokyo Olympics walking through the competition at 38 years old.

The only two people in his career that have managed to have competitive matches with him are Boroev and Riza Kayaalp but even then with the entire talk about the 2011 and 2015 finals Lopez has dominated at the Olympic Games.

Mijain Lopez Olympic Resume-

Athens 2004- 5th Place

Beijing 2008- 1st Place

London 2012- 1st Place

Rio 2016- 1st Place

Tokyo 2020- 1st Place

Have not seen any others so I will assume that Lopez is the only 5x Olympian or at least the only one of them to actually win multiple golds. In his storied career he has 4 Olympic gold medals being the second ever wrestler to do so and only ever male wrestler to accomplish this feat.

His worlds resume is stacked as well even with his lack of activity this last quad he has racked up 5 world titles as well as 3 silver medals. We all know the controversy behind two of the silvers but I won’t touch on that here.

Some of his big career wins include Rulon Gardner at the 2003 Pan American Championships. Gardner most famously pulled the off the upset of Aleksandr Karelin at the 2000 Olympic Games, as well as winning the world championships a year later. Gardner would come back to take bronze at the 2004 Olympics.

He had the rivalry with Khasan Boroev early in his career where he lost the 2006 world finals but would go on to win in 2007 and 2008. Boroev was stripped of his 2008 Olympic silver medal so that is not talked about a lot.

The rivalry with Kayaalp if you could even call it that anymore is probably the most famous just being that everyone looks forward to it. Riza was arguably the best wrestler at the past 3 Olympics behind Lopez but ended up losing to him every single time.

A few sources have said that Lopez will not be returning and some said he will be returning. At this point in time it just seems like pure speculation but either way a legendary career nonetheless.

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Akil Murugan
Akil Murugan
Senior Editor for Heavyweight Nation

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