Looking back at the 2012 Olympic Games over a decade later there are three main stories from the freestyle division. Jordan Burroughs winning his Olympic Gold, the upset of Besik Kudukhov, and the unfortunate injuries taking out a prime Reza Yazdani.
55kg- Dzhamal Otarsultanov (Russia)
This match has a bit of controversy behind it the way it was scored in the finals. Otarsultanov ended up getting the win over Vladamir Khinchegashvili of Georgia 5-3 to win Olympic Gold.
In addition to this Olympic Gold Otarsultanov won gold at the 2007 world cup and was a 3x European Champion.
60kg- Toghrul Asgarov (Azerbaijan)
Toghrul Asgarov pulled off a massive upset in the Olympic finals defeating Russian Besik Kudukhov to win Olympic gold at just 19 years of age. Unfortunately for Asgarov that would be the only gold medal that he would win at a major event.
He did make the finals of the 2016 Olympics but was teched in the finals, and he took silver at the 2010 World Championships in Moscow.
Asgarov was supposed to be the world’s next biggest star after this win but sadly things would never materialize for him.
66kg- Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu (Japan)
Yonemitsu would wrestle the tournament of his life in London defeating World Champion Sushil Kumar of India in the finals to win Olympic Gold.
There would not be much else for the career of Yonemitsu after he achieved this feat but he did win a silver and bronze medal at the World Championships.
74kg- Jordan Burroughs (United States)
Jordan Burroughs will go down as one of the greatest freestyle wrestlers in the history of this sport. His Olympic gold medal run in 2012 consisted of him defeating Russian Denis Tsargush in the semifinals in a clutch third period, as well as him grabbing another win over Iran’s Sadegh Goudarzi in the finals 2-0 to claim Olympic gold.
Since then Burroughs has been able to add an additional 5 world titles to his resume giving him 7 total gold medals to his name. Burroughs is also one of the few active wrestlers that competed in the 2012 Olympics and has said that he will be retiring after the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
84kg- Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan)
Sharifov’s career does not get nearly as much credit as it deserves simply being that he ran into Abdulrashid Sadulaev on a few occasions.
The 2012 games however would showcase his true ability as he cruised his way to Olympic Gold at 22 years old defeating Jaime Espinal in the finals.
Sharifov placed bronze at the 2016 Olympics after losing to Sadulaev, lost to Sadulaev in the 2019 world finals, and also pulled Sadulaev first round in the Tokyo Olympics. Just bad luck of the draw there considering he has beaten Kyle Snyder.
96kg- Jake Varner (United States)
There will continue to be a lot of talk about Varner’s gold medal because of the injury that Reza Yazdani sustained and him teching Varner with ease not too long ago.
The main thing to look at in this bracket however is the semifinals which Yazdani had to forfeit to Valeriy Andriytsev of Ukraine. Varner would go on to defeat Andriytsev in the Olympic finals 2-0 to win gold.
This would be all there was for Varner competitively as the only medal he would win after would be at the 2016 Ivan Yaryin and a silver.
120kg- Artur Taymazov (Uzbekistan)
Artur Taymazov was known as the most feared wrestler to ever roam the freestyle heavyweight division. Taymazov won 3 Olympic gold medals along with a silver at the 2000 Olympics.
Taymazov would be stripped of his 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medals, still retaining his 2004 gold, and 2000 silver as well as his world titles.
Komeil Ghasemi, and Biyal Makhov would be named co-gold medalists after silver medalist Davit Modzmanashvili of Georgia would also test positive for a banned substance.