Kyle Snyder Becomes Youngest US Wrestling Gold Medalist

Fellow American Frank Molinaro loses bout for bronze

Kyle Snyder defeated Khetag Gazyumov, of Azerbaijan, Sunday to become America's youngest ever freestyle wrestling gold medalist.

The 20-year-old Snyder battled 2-1 to win gold in the 97-kilogram division. The match was tightly contested down to the final seconds of the six-minute match. 

Snyder, the defending world champion, earlier beat Cuba's Javier Cortina Lacerra 10-3 in the round of 16 Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals. He continued his dominance against Albert Saritov, of Romania, winning the match 7-0.

But Snyder had an early scare against Georgia's Elizbar Odikadze in the semifinal. Odikadze stunned with a four-point arm throw early in the match. Snyder responded by walking the Georgian to the edge of the mat for a standing takedown. He went on the win the match 9-4. 

Snyder, who just finished his sophomore season at Ohio State, rolled to a world title at 97kg in September. He followed it up by winning the NCAA title at heavyweight, then dropped three international bouts in the run-up to Rio before going undefeated at a World Cup in June.

He is the second straight American wrestler to win Olympic gold in his weight class. Jake Varner, who Snyder beat at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in April, won in London four years ago.

Frank Molinaro Falls Short of Bronze
In the 65kg division, Frank Molinaro, of Barnegat, New Jersey, wrestled his way into a bronze bout. But 2015 world champion Frank Chamizo, of Italy, won 5-3 in the closely contested match. 

Molinaro, 27, earlier beat Magomedmurad Gadzhiev, of Poland, in the round of 16. He went on to lose in the quarterfinals 10-0 to Toghrul Asgarov, of Azerbaijan.

Asgarov, the 2012 Olympic champion, won his next semifinal bout against 2015 world champion Frank Chamizo, of Italy. That meant Molinaro was pulled into the repecharge to fight Andriy Kvyatkovskyy of Ukraine.

He won that match 8-5 to advance to the bout for bronze -- despite appearing to have been bitten by his opponent on the arm.  

"There is the chomp," an announcer said on NBCSN. 

Despite a protest, Kvyatkovskyy was not disqualified.

Molinaro until recently hadn't planned to compete in Rio. He received an Olympic berth in May when spots opened up as a result of doping violations. 

In college he was a four-time All-American at Penn State University. As a senior in 2012, he went undefeated (33-0) on the season en route to an NCAA 149-pound championship.

Molinaro's unexpected trip to Rio has coincided with another big surprise: the birth of his son two weeks early. Molinaro had to miss Frank Jr.'s birth on Aug. 8 because he was preparing for the Games in the Olympic Village. 

"That's been tough for me, not being able to hold him yet and seeing all the pictures of him," the father of two told

"At the end of the day, I go home and I have a beautiful new baby, another son and a beautiful wife," he added. "I'm very clear on what I want. I'm very clear that I can win. I believe this has all happened for a purpose."

Russia's Soslan Ramonov Wins 65kg Gold
Soslan Ramonov thumped Azerbaijan's Toghrul Asgarov 11-0 in just 2:05 on Sunday. 

Asgarov, who was going for his second consecutive Olympic championship, beat defending world champion Frank Chamizo of Italy with a takedown with 17 seconds left in his run to the finals. 

But he was no match for Ramonov, who scored a staggering 18 points in his semifinal win before dispatching Asgarov in the title match.

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