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Penn State’s David Taylor To Wrestle For Olympic Gold

Penn State wrestling legend David Taylor dominated overnight in Tokyo en route to the Olympic finals. Now, he’s got a chance to bring home his first-ever gold medal.

Representing the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club at 86 kg, Taylor began his Olympic tournament Tuesday night (for us Americans) by dominating four-time world medalist Ali Shabanau, who represented Belarus. Taylor jumped out to an 11-0 win with a four-point double leg to finish off a technical fall.

A few hours later, Taylor faced former Michigan wrestler Myles Amine, who was the tournament’s No. 3 seed representing San Marino. Amine scored an early takedown before Taylor battled back with 10 straight points, including four more takedowns to land a 12-2 win over the American-born star.

In his semifinal bout, Taylor kept rolling. He recorded his third technical fall of the tournament and moved on to the gold medal match with a 10-0 win over No. 2 seed and former world medalist Deepak Punia of India.

Taylor will now face 2016 Olympic champion Hassan Yazdanicharati in the gold-medal finals. The match will air in the 5:15 a.m. session on Thursday, August 5, likely closer to 6:30 a.m. Penn State wrestling’s Twitter account has been pretty on top of these matches, so stay tuned to find out exactly when Taylor will take the mat.

Notably, Taylor previously defeated Yazdanicharati to become a 2018 World Champion. The former Penn State star is now a three-time U.S. national champion, two-time NCAA title-winner, and two-time Hodge Trophy winner.

“I’ve dreamed of nothing but a gold medal, I’m going to go out and earn it every single second,” Taylor said from Tokyo.  “Back home at Penn State, we’ve got these young killers. They bring the fire every single day, and you’ve got no choice. They keep me young, excited, hungry. They help me prepare every step of the way; I am challenged all the time. I believe in myself. I want to be here.”

Taylor graduated from Penn State in 2014. Since then, he moved to State College and now owns K2 Roots, a small business focused on cold-pressed juices. The shop recently opened on Fraser Street.

Taylor is the lone Nittany Lion Wrestling Club member still vying for Olympic gold. Helen Maroulis, who represented the club in the 57 kg women’s freestyle, will compete for a bronze medal Wednesday night (for us U.S. folks). Thomas Gilman lost his opening match at 57 kg but remains alive for a bronze Wednesday night, too. Meanwhile, Kyle Snyder has yet to compete at 97 kg.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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