The mens freestyle class at the 2004 Olympics was by far one of the most talented podium of champions ever. Headlined by 9x World and Olympic Champion Buvaisar Saitiev let’s take a look at the rest of the weights.
55kg- Mavlet Batirov (Russia)
Mavlet Batirov is considered one if not the best lightweight in the history of freestyle wrestling. The only thing that holds him back from getting this title on most peoples lists is his lack of gold medals.
Mavlet is a 2x Olympic Champion winning in 2004 at 55kg, and in 2008 at 60kg. He wrestled at two World Championships where he won a gold medal and a bronze medal.
He looked to make a comeback for the 2012 London Olympics to become one of the first to win 3 Olympics golds, however that plan never materialized.
60kg- Yandro Quintana (Cuba)
Yandro Quintana was a very talented lightweight freestyle wrestler for Cuba. He was known for his extreme power and explosion from the neutral position being able to blow through opponents with ease.
The 2004 Olympics would be the only major tournament that Quintana won however with him falling in the 2003, and 2005 world finals.
Quinana won 2 gold medals at the Pan-American Games, and 4 gold medals at the Pan-American Championships.
66kg- Elbrus Tedeyev (Ukraine)
Elbrus Tedeyev was a staple at the 62kg-66kg weight class wherever he decided to go. He won Olympic gold in 2004 along with a Bronze in 1996 down at 62kg.
Along with his Olympic gold and bronze medal he would win 3 golds at the World Championships, and a gold medal at the European Championships in 1999.
If that last name sounds familiar to you it is because he is indeed related to Dzambolat Tedeyev who is now a former head coach of the Russian national team but was there for a very long time.
74kg- Buvaisar Saitiev (Russia)
Buvaisar Saitiev has been a staple in the world of freestyle wrestling and a name that is known worldwide even more than a decade after he has been done competing. What he has done for the world of freestyle wrestling was something incredible with the innovation of new styles of wrestling.
Saitiev was a 3x Champion at the Olympic Games winning gold in 1996, 2004, and 2008 in Beijing where he would announce his retirement.
He would also win 6 gold medals at the World Championships, along with another 6 gold medals at the European Championships with one of those coming at 85kg.
His brother Adam Saitiev was a multiple time World and Olympic Champion as well wrestling up a weight his entire career because of his brother.
84kg- Cael Sanderson (United States)
American’s know Cael Sanderson because of his legendary 159-0 undefeated collegiate career winning 4 National Championships and being the undisputed greatest of all time in college wrestling as well as his incredible coaching career so far for Penn State University.
Internationally Sanderson came onto the scene in 2003 where he dropped a couple matches to Russian opponents. In 2004 he would wrestle the tournament of his life. He would knock off Yoel Romero in the semifinals, Sazhid Sazhidov of Russia who beat Sanderson in the World Finals the year prior would get dominated by Moon Eui-Jae of South Korea.
In the finals Sanderson would secure his legacy defeating Eui-Jai 3-1 to win Olympic Gold.
96kg- Kadzhimurat Gatsalov (Russia)
In his prime Kadzhimurat Gatsalov dominated the light heavyweight weight class. Taking out names like Reza Yazdani, Kyle Snyder, and Khetag Gazyumov just to name a few.
Gatsalov even bumped up to the heavyweight weight class in 2013 and 2014 where he would win a gold medal at the World Championships along with a bronze.
In his 2004 run to Olympic Gold Gatsalov defeated American Daniel Cormier who most know as the UFC Double Champion. Cormier and Gatsalov actually trained together to prepare Cormier for his fight with Jon Jones at UFC 182.
Gatsalov was appointed as the new head coach of the Russian national team in 2022.
120kg- Artur Taymazov (Uzbekistan)
Artur Taymazov was undoubtedly the best freestyle heavyweight wrestler of all time winning 3 Olympic Gold medals and 2 world titles to go along with that.
Later on Taymazov would get stripped of his 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medals. He would be left with his 2004 Olympic Gold medal and his silver medal from the 2000 Olympics.
Taymazov has been a member of the State Duma since 2016 and has been representing Northern Ossetia.