2008 Olympics preview at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in men's freestyle wrestling
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
A relative newcomer, Ramazan Shahin of Turkey, claimed the World gold medal at this weight division in Baku, Azerbaijan. In the championship finals, Shahin defeated talented Cuban star Geandry Garzon. Shahin showed that he remains on the top of his game by winning the gold medal at the 2008 European Championships.
Garzon has been one of the most consistent performers at this division. He also won a bronze in the 2005 and 2006 World Championships, and most recently claimed the gold medal at the 2008 Pan American Championships.
In 2007. Doug Schwab made the U.S. team and placed fifth in the World Championships. Schwab defeated 2006 World champion Bill Zadick in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials to earn his spot in the Olympic Games, and will be seeking his first World-level medal. Schwab has shown improvement and will be a tough draw for anybody in this weight.
Irbek Farniev of Russia won the World bronze medal in 2007, the only member of the Russian team who did not capture a gold medal. Russia has a number of options at this division, and whoever is selected will be a medal hopeful. Otar Tushishvili of Georgia has remained top hopeful, winning a World silver medal in 2006 and a World bronze medals in 2005 and 2007.
Rounding out the top eight placewinners from the 2007 World Championships were Andrey Stadnik of Ukraine, Sushil Kumar of India and Batzorig Buyanjav of Mongolia. Stadnik was third in the 2006 World Championships.
Chung Song Yang of North Korea was the 2008 Asian champion. Placing second behind Shahin at the 2008 European Championships was Koba Kalkaladze of Georgia. An old veteran who could make a run at another medal is two-timeWorld champion Serafim Barzakov of Bulgaria, who most recently won a World silver medal in 2005.
Qualified nations at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.: Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bulgaria; Canada; Cuba; Georgia; India; Iran; Japan; Kazakhstan; Korea; Mongolia; People?s Republic of Korea; Russia; South Africa; Turkey; Ukraine; United States
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2007 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Ramazan Shahin (Turkey); Silver - Geandry Garzon (Cuba); Bronze - Irbek Farniev (Russia); Bronze - Otar Tushishvili (Georgia); 5th - Andrey Stadnik (Ukraine); 5th - Doug Schwab (United States); 7th - Sushil Kumar (India); 8th - Batzorig Buyanjav (Mongolia); 9th - Takayuki Suzuki (Japan); 10th - Arslan Khutaliev (Uzbekistan)
2006 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. ? Gold ? Bill Zadick (USA); Silver ? Otari Tushishvili (Georgia); Bronze ? Geandry Garzon (Cuba); Bronze ? Andriy Stadnik (Ukraine); 5th ? Albert Batyrov (Belarus); 5th ? Serafim Barzakov (Bulgaria); 7th ? Elman Askerov (Azerbaijan); 8th ? Fred Jessy (Nigeria); 9th ? Makhach Murtazaliev (Russia); 10th ? Leonid Spiridonov (Kazakhstan)
2005 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Mahach Murtazaliev (Russia); Silver - Serafim Barzakov (Bulgaria); Bronze - Otar Tushishvili (Georgia); Bronze - Geandry Garzon (Cuba); 5th - Leonid Spirodonov (Kazakhstan); 5th - Viktor Bilokopytyy (Ukraine); 7th - Bayunjav Batzorig (Mongolia); 8th - Evan MacDonald (Canada); 9th - Omer Cubukci (Turkey); 10th - Masoud Vahedi (Iran)
2004 Olympic Games
66 kg/ 145.5 lbs. ? Gold ? Elbrus Tedeyev (Ukraine); Silver ? Jamill Kelly (USA); Bronze ? Makhach Murtazaliev (Russia); 4th ? Leonid Spirdonov (Kazakhstan); 5th ? Kazuhiko Ikematu (Japan); 6th ? Apostolos Taskoudis (Greece); 7th ? Omer Cubucki (Turkey); 8th ? Serafim Barzakov (Bulgaria); 9th ? Serguei Rondon (Cuba); 10th ? Kumar Na Ramesh (India)
2003 World Championships
66 kg/ 145.5 lbs. ? Gold ? Irbek Farniev (Russia) dec. Serafim Barzakov (Bulgaria), 3-1, ot, 7:57; Bronze ? Ikematsu Kazuhiko (Japan) dec. Serguei Rondon (Cuba), 6-5; 5th ? Otari Tushishvili (Georgia); 6th ? Elbrus Tedeev (Ukraine); 7th ? Nikolaos Loizidis (Greece); 8th ? Evan MacDonald (Canada); 9th ? Gergo Szabo (Hungary); 10th ? Stefan Fernyak (Slovakia)
2002 World Championships
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Gold - Elbrus Tedeev (Ukraine) dec. Ali Reza Dabir (Iran), 5-4, ot, 6:24; Bronze - Zaur Botaev (Russia) dec. Ergun Urun (Germany), 3-0; 5th - Serafim Barzakov (Bulgaria); 6th - Lucian Gralak (Poland); 7th - Sung Jang-Jae (Korea); 8th - Neil Ewers (Canada); 9th - Otar Tushishvili (Georgia); 10th ? Norjin Bayramagnai (Mongolia)