Since 2014, the heavyweight bracket has been won by either Geno Petriashvili of Georgia or Taha Akgul of Turkey. They will be on opposite sides of the bracket in Tokyo with Petriashvili holding the No. 1 seed and Akgul entering as the No. 3 seed.
Petriashvili is the three-time reigning World champion, winning gold in 2017, 2018, and 2019. He also picked up bronze medals at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships as well as a bronze in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Additionally, he was a 2017 U23 World champion and 2013 Junior World champion.
Entering his third Olympic Games, Akgul is the returning Olympic champion with a gold-medal performance in Rio. It was his third-straight gold after winning World titles in 2014 and 2015. Since then, he earned silver medals at the 2017 and 2019 Worlds, falling to Petriashvili in tight bouts, 10-8 and 6-6, respectively. Akgul’s resume also includes a bronze from the 2013 World Championships.
In a good position to make some waves at the weight is Gable Steveson of the United States, who will compete at his first Olympics at just 21 years old. To make the U.S. Olympic Team, he dominated two-time Senior World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski with back-to-back technical falls. While he hasn’t competed much at the Senior-level internationally, Steveson has some major international credentials at younger age-groups, including 2015 and 2016 Cadet World titles as well as a 2017 Junior World gold. At the Pan American Championships earlier this year, Steveson sailed through the field to win the bracket. Currently, Steveson wrestles at the University of Minnesota, where he won the 2021 NCAA title at heavyweight. He will enter the tournament unseeded, which is a problem for the rest of the field. Continue reading at teamusa.org →