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World Champ David Taylor Leads U.S. Men's Freestylers In Securing Three Olympic Quotas

By Chrös McDougall | March 15, 2020, 3:12 p.m. (ET)

David Taylor holds an American flag at the 2018 Wrestling World Championships on Oct. 21, 2018, in Budapest, Hungary.

The U.S. men’s freestyle wrestling team closed out one of the few sporting events taking place this weekend by earning three quotas for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Thomas Gilman (57 kg.), David Taylor (86 kg.) and Nick Gwiazdowski (125 kg.) each reached their respective finals at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier on Sunday in Ottawa, Ontario, and by doing so each has secured Team USA an Olympic spot for their weight class.

The U.S. men’s freestyle team had previously secured Olympic quotas in the 74 kg. and 97 kg. classes based on performances at the 2019 world championships. That leaves just one remaining weight class, 65 kg., when the U.S. can still secure at a last-chance qualifier that will be rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The athletes who will fill the quotas will be determined at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which also will be rescheduled. The trials were originally set for next month in Pennsylvania.

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Gilman, who won a world championships silver medal in 2017, opened with a convincing win in the qualification round, and then got past Cuba's Reineri Andreu Ortega 4-3 in the quarterfinals before shutting out the Dominican Republic's Juan Rubelin Ramirez Beltre 11-0 in the semifinals to secure the quota. He will face Colombia's Oscar Eduardo Tigreros Urbano in the final.

Taylor, the 2018 world champion at 86 kg., is back after missing most of the previous season with a knee injury. He showed little rust on Sunday, not giving up a point in either of his wins, including an 8-0 semifinal victory over Cuba's Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta to secure the quota. He'll face Peru's Pool Edinson Ambrocio Greifo for the title.

Gwiazdowski closed out the semifinals with a convincing 10-0 win over Luis Felipe Vivenes Urbaneja of Venezuela. A two-time bronze medalist at the world championships, Gwiazdowski will face Canada’s Amarveer Dhesi for the title.

The only quota spot Team USA failed to secure on Sunday was in the 65 kg., class, where Zain Retherford lost his semifinal bout against Agustin Alejandro Destribats of Argentina.

In total, the U.S. wrestlers closed out the competition with 15 of a possible 18 Olympic quotas, including four in Greco-Roman on Friday, plus four in women’s freestyle — to go with two from the world championships — on Saturday.

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic and Paralympic movements for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.