Thomas Gilman entered his first world championships ranked No. 19, but made his case to the world that he should be higher after capturing the silver medal on Friday at the 2017 UWW World Wrestling Championships in Paris.
It was a banner day for Americans as the U.S. men won three medals on the first day of men’s freestyle action. J’den Cox followed up his bronze medal from the Olympic Games Rio 2016 with a world championship bronze medal at 86 kg. Nick Gwiazdowski earned his first senior world medal by securing bronze at 125 kg.
The 23-year-old Gilman gave a spirited effort but came up short in the gold medal match, losing 6-0 to Japan’s Yuki Takahashi in the 57 kg. weight class.
Gilman, a three-time All-American at the University of Iowa, took an early shot but Takahashi drove him out of bounds for a caution and two-point score. Takahashi, ranked No. 8 in the world coming in, added a takedown for a 4-0 lead at the break, and scored another takedown late in the match to cement the win.
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Gilman earned the only championship bout performance for U.S. wrestlers after a thrilling 5-4 semifinal win over North Korea’s Hak-Jin Jong. The former Hawkeye picked up a 12-1 win over Uzbekistan’s Nodirjon Safarov in the quarterfinals. His other wins on the day included a 5-2 win over Andrey Yatsenko of Ukraine and a gutsy 3-0 decision over Iran’s Reza Atrinagharchi.
Cox, a three-time NCAA champion from the University of Missouri, shut out 2010 world champion Mihail Ganev of Bulgaria 8-0 to win the bronze medal at 86 kg. Cox took a 1-0 lead over Ganev at the break off the shot clock. He scored a takedown on a low single leg attack to go up 3-0 after taking a poke in the eye, then hit two more takedowns to clinch the bronze medal.
Gwiazdowski, a two-time NCAA champion at North Carolina State, took a 1-0 lead after Zolboo Natsagsuren of Mongolia went on the shot clock for passivity, then scored a takedown just before the break for a 3-0 lead. He gave up a point from the shot clock before recording one more takedown for the 5-1 win and bronze medal.
Gwiazdowski fell into the bronze medal match after losing by technical fall to multiple world champion Taha Akgul of Turkey in the semifinals.
Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.