Adam Coon celebrates after his semifinal match at World Wrestling Championships on Oct. 27, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary.
Just a few months after considering a switch to playing football, Adam Coon is a Greco-Roman wrestling world medalist.
Coon fell to Russia’s Sergey Semenov on Sunday to claim the 130 kg. silver medal at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Russia, closing out what has been the most successful world championships ever for Team USA.
The former Michigan standout — who twice finished as the NCAA runner-up as a Wolverine — pinned four opponents en route to the title bout against Semenov, a former junior and U23 world champ.
There, Seminov quickly gained control, taking a 1-0 lead on a step out, and then scoring two four-point moves to win via technical fall by a score of 9-0.
The result marked a magical run for Coon, who wrapped up his collegiate career in March and in April told the Michigan Daily that he was garnering interest from pro football teams.
“It’s more just about seeing if there’s any interest, and then we’re gonna move forward if that’s the route I want to take,” said Coon, who last played football in high school, when he was an all-state linebacker.
Instead, he stuck with wrestling, and the burly 6-foot-6, 280-pound heavyweight made the U.S. team by sweeping Olympian Robby Smith in the world team trials.
He didn’t have to worry about longtime collegiate rival Kyle Snyder. This past season, Coon handed Snyder, of Ohio State, his first collegiate loss since 2015. However, Snyder — a two-time world champ and 2016 Olympic gold medalist — beat Coon to win the NCAA title in March.
In Budapest, Coon joined Snyder as a teammate rather than rival. Snyder won the silver medal in the men’s 97 kg. freestyle competition.
Coon’s medal highlighted a rebound year after the U.S. Greco-Roman team went a combined 5-9 in the tournament with no American winning more than one match at last year’s world championships.
On a U.S. team featuring three Olympians and four wrestlers with world championships experience, it was Coon — one of six world championships rookies — who was able to break through.
Since winning the team world title in 2007, the U.S. Greco-Roman team has won just four total medals at the Olympics or world championships. The last American to medal at the Olympic or world level was Andy Bisek, who won the 75 kg. bronze medal in 2015.
The last American to win a world title in Greco-Roman was Joe Warren, who won the 60 kg. class in 2006. Coon became the first U.S. Greco wrestler to reach a world championships final since 2009.
Coon’s result closes out what has already been the most successful world championships ever for the U.S., as the U.S. men won three world titles and seven total medals in men’s freestyle, plus one world title and four total medals in women’s freestyle.