LONDON - In June, Coleman Scott needed a wrestle-off to claim the final spot on the men’s freestyle Olympic team. It’s only fitting that Saturday night the 60 kg. wrestler would claim the bronze medal in dramatic fashion too.
The Oklahoma State alum beat Japan's Kenichi Yumoto 0-1, 3-0, 3-1 and it wasn’t until Scott looked over at his coach as time expired that he was certain he won. Scott put Yumoto on his back and racked up two points in the final seconds of the match. The 26 year old slapped the mat in excitement and pounded his chest in celebration. Scott gave the United States its third freestyle wrestling medal of the Games.
“I looked up and there were three seconds left and I had him on his back. I couldn’t help myself. I wish I could’ve, but I looked over at coach and he was smiling,” Scott said. “All the time he’s put in for me I think this is something I can give back to him.”
Scott placed fourth at the 2008 Olympic Trials but battled through injury in the 2012 wrestle-off just to make the team. The former four-time All American said he was angered when he read that nobody was predicting him to be an Olympic medalist. The articles he read two days before his Olympic weigh-in were on his mind when he took to the mat.
Scott started off with a win against Korea’s Seungchul Lee, 3-0, 3-0 and followed it up with a quarterfinal win against Georgia’s Malkhaz Zarkua. Scott was eliminated from gold medal contention when Azerbaijan’s 19 year old Toghrul Asgarov beat him 1-0, 4-0 in the semifinals. Asgarov went on to win the gold.
“You look at two or three months ago it’s an uphill battle just to make the team,” Scott’s coach and current Oklahoma State wrestling coach, John Smith said. “It made him stronger, tougher and gave him an opportunity to win the gold medal. He had to settle for a bronze but it was a bronze that was earned.”
Scott had 95 people in attendance cheering for him and said this medal is his way of giving something back to them for all the sacrifices they made for him. After he ran off the mat in celebration he said he wanted to Skype with his young daughter who was back home with his mother-in-law in Oklahoma City.
“This is what you’ve been training for and all the setbacks you’ve been through for the past three years can pay off for you and can take you to another level,” Smith, a two-time Olympic champion, said. “His best matches came at the right time.”
Scott was one of three wrestlers to compete on Saturday. Tervel Dlagnev’s hopes of medaling ended in the bronze medal match with a loss to Iran’s Komeil Ghasemi. Ghasemi scored a point with nine seconds remaining in the final period to secure the victory. Dlagnev reeled off two victories in the tournament before being pinned by Uzbekistan's two-time Olympic champion Artur Taymazov in the semifinals.
Teammate Jake Herbert advanced to the semifinals in the 84 kg. weight class after earning a 1-4, 8-0, 1-1 win against Cuba’s Humberto Arencibia. He lost to the defending world champion, Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan in the quarterfinals. Sharifov made the finals, pulling Herbert back into the repechage. Herbert lost to Turkey’s Ibrahim Bolukbasi in the second repechage round.
Wrestlers Jared Frayer and Jake Varner compete in the 66 kg. and 96 kg. weight classes Sunday.