In the 2020 Olympics, Mijain LOPEZ NUNEZ (CUB) hopes to make his mark. The unseeded Cuban wrestling legend might make history by becoming only the second wrestler in Olympic history and the first in Greco-Roman to win four gold medals.
(At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Japan’s Kaori ICHO made history by becoming the first wrestler in Olympic history to win four gold medals.) Lopez, now 38 years old, has won five world crowns and three world silver medals, and he is undefeated at the Olympic Games since 2008.
Greco-Roman 130KG Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Riza KAYAALP (TUR), the top seed at 130 kilogrammes heading into the Tokyo Olympics, had lost twice to him at the world championship level.
Kayaalp, at 31 years old, has a record in international wrestling that places him among the all-time greats in the Greco-Roman heavyweight division. He has won the world championship four times and has medaled in the Olympics three times. Gold at the Olympics is the only major honour he lacks.
His only Olympic defeat came at Lopez’s hands. Lopez advanced to the gold medal match against Nadal at the 2012 Olympics by defeating Kayaalp in the semis. Four years later, in the gold medal match at the Rio Olympics, Lopez defeated Nadal by a score of 6-0. In 2011 and 2015, he faced Lopez in the finals of the world championship and won both times.
Kayaalp took home gold at the European Championships for the tenth time at the senior level in April in Warsaw, Poland.
Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) will be going for his second Olympic medal after winning the world title. He lost to Lopez in the semi-finals, but he still managed to win bronze at the Rio Olympics. Two years later, in 2018, Semenov took home gold from the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest. In December, Semenov won gold at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade.
In March, second-seeded Egyptian player Abdellatif MOHAMED won silver in the Matteo Pellicone Tournament. In early April, he qualified for the Olympic Games by winning gold at an event for athletes from Africa and Oceania.
Third-seeded Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) is making his third consecutive Olympic appearance. He has racked up a number of medals in the Asian Championships and one at the 2018 Asian Games.
Previous junior world champion and fourth seed Amin MIRZAZADEH (IRI) took first place at the 2020 Asian Championships. At the June Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup, Mirzazadeh triumphed to take home the gold.
Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO) is a medal contender in the weight class. He lost against Kayaalp in the finals of the European Championships this year. At the European Games of 2019, Kajaia won the gold medal.
Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI) earned a bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships. He won the January Grand Prix de France Henri Deglane.
German athlete Eduard POPP advanced to the medal round at the 2016 Olympics, where he ultimately finished in fifth place.
Another prior world medalist to watch is Minseok KIM (KOR) (KOR). At the 2018 World Championships, he finished in third place.
medals at the European Championships include Alin ALEXUC CIURARIU (ROU) and Elias KUOSMANEN (FIN). European champion in 2020 Alexuc Ciurariu will be making his third Olympic appearance.