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There’s No Break After Another Magic Ending For Wrestler David Taylor

By Alex Abrams | Aug. 22, 2021, 2:08 p.m. (ET)

David Taylor poses with his medal during the victory ceremony at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 05, 2021 in Chiba, Japan.

 

David Taylor admitted he was too sleep deprived to climb into bed and pass out once he returned home from Japan. Plus, he was still filled with adrenaline from the excitement of the past few days. 

There was no way Taylor, a 2018 wrestling world champion, was going to fall asleep so soon after winning a gold medal in his Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Instead of relaxing at home, he tried to wind down with a workout that included 20 squats and 15 overhead presses. He then spent 25 minutes in a sauna.

Taylor won’t get much time to slow down and appreciate his remarkable run earlier this month at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. He has agreed to join the U.S. team that will compete at the 2021 Senior World Championships in early October in Oslo, Norway. He’ll wrestle at the same weight class he did in Tokyo — 86 kg. in men’s freestyle.

“My favorite quote, ‘You either put in the work or you don’t. There is no in between,’” Taylor wrote this week on Instagram. “7 weeks until the 2021 World Championships in Oslo, Norway. Time to refocus on the next goal.”

 

 

Taylor is one of four Americans who’ll wrestle at the world championships after medaling at the Tokyo Olympics. He’ll be joined by silver medalist Kyle Snyder (97 kg. in men’s freestyle) and bronze medalists Helen Maroulis (57 kg. in women’s freestyle) and Kyle Dake (74 kg. in men’s freestyle).

It’s a quick turnaround for the four wrestlers. 

Taylor will attempt to win his second world championship only two months after he earned his first Olympic gold medal in dramatic fashion.

David Taylor celebrates his gold medal victory in the men's freestyle 86kg wrestling final match during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 5, 2021 in Tokyo.

 

The former Penn State star earned the nickname “Magic Man” because of his knack for pulling out comeback victories that seemed improbable at the time. That proved to be the case again in Tokyo.

Taylor made an early 2-0 deficit disappear and claimed a 4-3 victory over Iran’s Hassan Yazdani with a two-point takedown with 20 seconds remaining in their gold-medal match.

As soon as the match ended, Taylor celebrated by raising his arms above his head and letting out a scream before falling to his knees. Yazdani, a reigning Olympic and world champion who’s nicknamed “The Greatest,” looked stunned as he remained on the mat.

“I texted my coach earlier in the week after watching a lot of the Olympic sports, and I said, ‘You’ve got to want to be here. You’ve got to want it,” Taylor told NBC’s “Today” show. “I think that really sums it up.

“You got 20 seconds left, the gold medal’s on the line, you fulfill your life’s goal, and you either get it done or you don’t. And I found a way. I found a way to get that takedown.”

Taylor’s dramatic win in the biggest match of his life capped a gold-medal run that proved to be more difficult than he imagined it would be.

Back in 2012, Taylor won the first of his two NCAA championships at Penn State. He recalled at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling in April that he was so confident after that NCAA win that he assumed he’d eventually win a gold medal. Instead, Taylor failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics after finishing a disappointing third after moving up to 86 kg. He then missed almost a year after suffering a severe knee injury in 2019.

Two years later, Taylor became an Olympic gold medalist.

After returning home from Tokyo, he stopped by his M2 Training Center in Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania. He thought he was going for a practice but instead walked in on a surprise celebration.

The celebration gave Taylor an opportunity to reflect on his unlikely journey over the past few years.

“I’ve been telling these kids for 5 years that we are working on chasing and achieving our dreams together!” Taylor wrote on Instagram. “This gold medal gives every kid hope that if they work hard and continue to chase their dreams, it’s possible!”

 

 


Taylor is already looking ahead to defending his title at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

On Aug. 8, only three days after beating Yazdani, Taylor posted a photo of himself with the gold medal draped around his neck. He added a comment that left no doubt about his future plans.

“Don’t be afraid to pursue your dream. Embrace the adversity life throws your way, and persevere!” Taylor wrote. “Write down your goals and achieve them! Paris 2024, let’s do it again!”

 

 

Alex Abrams

Alex Abrams has written about Olympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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