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Penn State Wrestling Legend David Taylor Wins Gold In Tokyo

For the first time in its history, Penn State wrestling has an Olympic gold medalist.

Competing with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, program legend David Taylor took gold in the 86 kg finals against 2016 Olympic champion Hassan Yazdanicharati of Iran. Despite a slow start, Taylor battled back to claim the ultimate prize in his first Olympic tournament.

Yazdanicharati rattled off two quick points to put Taylor down early, but a takedown tied the bout 2-2. Yazdanicharati expanded his lead to 3-2 with a quick pushout.

A miraculous last-minute takedown with just 15 gave Taylor a 4-3 edge, ultimately leading to the victory.

Taylor previously defeated Yazdanicharati to become a 2018 World Champion.

The former Penn State athlete dominated his way to the Olympic finals, making easy work of wrestlers from Belarus, San Marino, and India.

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’s gold medal is Penn State’s first since 1988. That year, Lady Lions alumna Suzie McConnell won gold with the U.S. women’s basketball team in Seoul. At Penn State, McConnell led Penn State to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances and held NCAA Division I records for career assists, assists in a season, and season assist average.

In addition to his Olympic win, Taylor is now a three-time U.S. national champion, two-time NCAA title-winner, and two-time Hodge Trophy winner.

Although Taylor brings home the club’s only gold, the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club is still competing in Tokyo. Helen Maroulis will vie for the bronze Thursday, while Thomas Gilman already took bronze at 57 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 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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