Gable Steveson of the United States beat Geno Petriashvili of Georgia to win the gold medal in wrestling on Aug. 6, 2021. (Piroschka Van De Wouw, Reuters)
THE MAT — I have loads of respect for wrestlers. Theirs is a wildly difficult sport that requires a colossal amount of dedication and training.
I attended a junior high that for years was a juggernaut when it came to wrestling. They won district championship after district championship, and I believe I hold a very distinct title at the powerhouse wrestling junior high: worst wrestler ever.
As a seventh-grader, I wanted to be a part of something and joined the walk-on wrestling team. I showed up to every practice and every meet and I was a disaster.
I’m guessing you all think I am being humble, but I’m not. I was truly terrible. I was a big, chubby kid with zero muscle mass who got in one match all season. I was pinned within 10 seconds.
My bewildering terribleness at one of the world’s oldest Olympic sports is probably why I have no idea what’s going on in this video.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 6, 2021
American wrestler Gable Steveson was battling Georgia’s Geno Petriashvili in the gold medal wrestling match at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Steveson trailed Petriashvili by one with just seconds left. As time ran out, Steveson pulled a move and the next thing you know he’s one point ahead and a gold medalist. My head spun when I saw it. I had absolutely no idea what was going on — my junior high wrestling coach would be so disappointed.
I decided to do some googling and found out that with seconds left, Steveson did a spin-behind takedown that is apparently worth two points. Not only did he do it as time ran out, but he also did it a few seconds before, when he was down by three points. Best way to describe it to those who don’t know wrestling: Steveson’s team was down by five with 10 seconds left; he hit a 3-pointer then stole the inbounds pass and hit another 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the game.
Congrats to you and your gold medal, Gable Steveson. And thanks for entertaining us and forcing all of us to learn a little bit more about wrestling — even us truly terrible wrestlers.