For the first time since 2009, the United States Greco-Roman program has a World finalist.
Adam Coon (130 kg, Cliff Keen WC), after enduring a difficult summer of Senior Greco growing pains — and pinning his three opponents this morning — will be going for gold tomorrow, an improbable feat considering that he is competing at his first World Championships.
Day 3 of the 2018 World Championships took place earlier today from the Papp Laszlo Sports Arena in Budapest, Hungary and was broadcast live in the US on Trackwrestling.
In the heavyweight semifinal, Coon faced 2013 Junior World bronze Kim Min-Seok (KOR), who US fans might be familiar with due to his victory at the Dave Schultz Memorial last November.
On that day, Kim defeated a handful of US heavyweights. Coon? He was in the middle of his collegiate season, getting back his sea legs following a year lost to injury. He has made a lot of strides since the conclusion of his NCAA career, and even more so since his age-group days. Saturday’s performance illustrated all of that in full, living color for everyone to see.
The first period against Kim unfolded in a similar manner to Coon’s other matches today. Sort of.
As soon as he could, Coon locked around Kim with over/under’s. Kim responded with a tight arm spin attempt. Coon almost went over, but recovered and scrambled behind. It was ruled a slip — as was Kim’s subsequent attempt at the same maneuver.
The first passivity point went to Coon, and in the ensuing par terre, he was unable to turn or lift Kim. Back up they were. And repeatedly, Coon looked for that over/under clinch that had proven devastatingly effective all morning long. A caution-and-two on Kim for bailing from the lock provided the American with a 3-0 lead, although it was easy to detect Coon wanted more from that position. It just didn’t happen in the first period.
But it did in the second.
When the pair met in the center to begin the period, once again, Coon bullied his way into the hold. There was a different measure of resolve this time around, he didn’t want to let it go to waste. So, he wrapped tightly around Kim, tighter, seemingly, than he had before. He was also adjusting his grip more. Coon wrung his arms up Kim’s back, to the side, and twisted, as if to test the landing pattern.
With Kim fading towards the edge, Coon zeroed in and dumped him to the tarp. It was over immediately. Kim was pinned as soon as his back touched the surface. The signal came, and here, now, the United States is guaranteed its first World medalist since Andy Bisek in 2015.
In the 130-kilogram finals on Sunday, Coon will go up against 2016 Olympic bronze/2017 U23 World Champion Sergey Semenov (RUS). The finals begin at 3:30pm local time (9:30am EST) and can be viewed live in the US on Trackwrestling.
- No other Greco athlete in the tournament has more than two falls. Coon has (already) achieved four.
- Coon is the first US athlete to guarantee himself a medal since former World Champion and Army assistant coach Dremiel Byers made the World finals in 2009.
2018 World Championships
October 25th-28th — Budapest, Hungary
TEAM USA DAY 3 RESULTS
67 kg — Ellis Coleman (Army/WCAP)
LOSS Mamadassa Sylla (FRA) 5-3
77 kg — Kamal Bey (Sunkist)
WIN Ridong Zhang (CHN) 9-0, TF
WIN Reiner Jimenez Terry (GUA) 8-1
LOSS Elvin Mursaliyev (AZE) 6-2
97 kg — G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist)
LOSS Peter Oehler (GER) 6-3
130 kg — Adam Coon (Cliff Keen WC)
WIN Rafal Krajewski (POL) via fall
WIN Lingshe Meng (CHN) via fall
WIN Eduard Popp (GER) via fall
WIN Kim Min-Seok (KOR) via fall