World champion Snyder, along with Molinaro, get draws for final day of Olympic freestyle on Sunday

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Aug. 20, 2016, 1:36 p.m. (ET)
Kyle Snyder of the United States looks to add Olympic gold to his 2015 World title. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – 2015 World champion Kyle Snyder (Woodbine, Md./Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC) at 97 kg/213 lbs. as well as Frank Molinaro (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) at 65 kg/143 lbs. have weighed in and received their first round draws for the Olympic Games. They will compete in Carioca 2 Arena on Sunday, the final day of the 2016 Olympic Games.

Snyder, as the defending World champion is the No. 1 seed, and is in the top spot of the top bracket. He will face Cuba’s Javier Cortina in the first round, a 2014 World bronze medalist. Snyder beat Cortina in the Beat the Streets Dual in 2015, by a 4-0 margin.

If Snyder wins his first bout, he would face the winner of the match between 2011 World bronze medalists Albert Saritov of Romania and Nicolai Ceban of Moldova.

In the bottom portion of Snyder’s half-bracket are Jose Diaz Robertti of Venezuela, Mamed Ibragimov of Kazakhstan, Elizbar Odikadze of Georgia and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Georgii Ketoev of Armenia. Odikadze was fifth in the 2014 and 2015 World Championships.

The two athletes who have beaten Snyder in the last year are not in his half-bracket, World champion and Olympic medalist Khetag Goziumov of Azerbaijan and 2016 European champion Anzor Boltukaev of Russia, and would only be an opponent for Snyder if they made the finals.

Snyder became the youngest U.S. Senior World champion, when he won the gold medal at 19 years old in Las Vegas last September. He also boasts a 2013 Junior World title, won at age 17. Snyder came out of Olympic redshirt in January and won the NCAA heavyweight title for Ohio State in March.

“Kyle’s preparation has been good. We are making some mistakes. We have to go back and control the things we can control, not make the mistakes that sometimes the show does to people. They prepared well. Kyle Snyder does everything he is supposed to do and more. He is going to be prepared and will wrestle hard in every match. There is where we are with Kyle Snyder,” said National Freestyle Coach Bruce Burnett.

Molinaro is in the top half-bracket, and in the second quarter-bracket He will open against Magomedmurad Gadzhiev of Poland

If Molinaro wins his first bout, he would face the winner of the match between 2012 Olympic champion Toghrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan and Andriy Kvyatkovskyy of Ukraine.

In the top portion of Molinaro’s half-bracket are top seed and 2015 World champion Frank Chamizo of Italy, Devid Safaryan of Armenia, Zurabi Iakobishvili of Georgia and Daniel Amas of Nigeria.

“Frank is progressively better. He works hard at learning, working every situation that comes around. He trains as hard as anybody we have. Cody Sanderson has done a good job getting him ready. He is a student of the sport and he has done a good job of preparing for the Olympic Games. I have all the confidence in the world in him,” said National Freestyle Coach Bruce Burnett.

THERE ARE DIFFERENT TIMES FOR SUNDAY’S COMPETITION, due to Closing Ceremonies on Sunday night. The first session featuring preliminaries including will be held at 8:30 a.m. The second session, including repechage and medal matches begins at 12:45 p.m. Rio time. Remember, Rio is one hour ahead of U.S. Eastern time.

“No question about it. It has been a long process. You have been down here and away from home for three weeks. It is the biggest event that we have. We have had some heartbreak and some controversy. You just have to be able to deal with the pressure of the competition, the pressure from your opponents and the pressure of the officials. That’s what it is. There are trials and tribulations for all of us. You have to be able to handle it, to step out on the mat and give your best performance. That’s what Kyle and Frank will do,” said Burnett.

Fans can see every match streamed live through NBC, with television coverage expected on other NBC platforms. United World Wrestling will have live results and brackets.

2016 OLYMPIC GAMES
At Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

U.S. men’s freestyle draw for Sunday


65 kt/143 lbs. – Frank Molinaro, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
Vs. Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (Poland), 2016 European Olympic Qualifier champion, 2016 European champion, 7th in 2015 World Championships, 2008 Junior World champion competing for Russia

97 kg/213 lbs. – Kyle Snyder, Woodbine, Md. (Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC)
Vs. Javier Cortina (Cuba), 3rd in 2014 World Championships, 2013 Pan American champion, 2012 Olympian