Rio Recap: J'den Cox takes home the bronze
RIO DE JANEIRO – Mid-Missouri's J'den Cox is bring home some hardware from Rio de Janeiro.
Cox is 2-time NCAA champion for MU, and now he is Olympic bronze medalist.
Cox’s gold medal dreams came to an end after a close loss to World No. 4 Selim Yasar of Turkey. He recovered to wrestle for a bronze medal against three-time World medalist and World No. 3 Reineris Salas Perez of Cuba.
Cox was up early after Salas was put on the 30 second clock requiring him to score within that time. Since Salas didn't score, he was awarded a point for passivity. With less than a minute left in the match, Cox was put on the same clock. He fired off a nice shot, but the time on the clock was running out.
He had control of both of Salas' legs, but was not awarded a takedown.
Instead, Salas was given a point to put him in the lead by criteria with less than 10 seconds left in the match.
With such little time, the U.S. coaches challenged the decision saying it should be a takedown (and therefore two points). The U.S. won the challenge.
Salas refused to wrestle the rest of the match. So, Cox ended up winning the match with three total points in his favor.
In the semifinals, Cox lost to World No. 4 Selim Yasar of Turkey 2-1.
The match was tied up 1-1 at the end of criteria with Cox being the last one to score. Many fans— and possibly Cox himself— believed the freestyle wrestling rules would have sent him to the finals. Usually the winner of a 1-1 match is the person who scored last.
However, the point he gave up was a caution—kind of like a penalty point—so that outweighs all other scorings in criteria. Due to that, Cox lost.
The U.S. coaches then had nothing to lose by challenging the decision and possibly a victory to gain by challenging the 1-1 criteria decision.
According to the Olympic freestyle wrestling rules, if any side loses a challenge they give a point to their opponent. Technically, the final score of Cox’s semifinals match was 2-1 after the failed challenge.
He will now change his focus to winning a bronze medal in Rio.
Cox started Saturday morning with a decisive win in the round of 16 over Amarhaly Mahamedau of Belarus.
He was aggressive throughout the match showing off his unorthodox wrestling style capitalizing on his flexibility and his mat awareness by scoring some big point on the edge of the mat. Cox showed he wasn’t afraid to be in potentially hazardous situations.
Cox won his first round match 7-1.
In the quarterfinals, Cox defeated Alireza Karimimachiani of Iran. He beat Karimimachiani earlier this year 6-2 at the World Cup. Cox won this bout in Rio 5-1, and almost finished that match out with an additional takedown at the buzzer.
(Editor's Note: KOMU has updated this story with the latest information.)