The wrestling pundits thought that the U.S. wouldn't bring home gold in freestyle wrestling. After the drubbing the Americans received at last year's world championships, gold did seem unlikely. The pundits were proven wrong in the very first weight class.
Henry Cejudo walked through the 55 kg (122 lbs) weight class, needing only two periods to finish off Japan's Tomohiro Nastunaga. In the first round, he defeated a previous world champion in Radoslav Velikov from Bulgaria, and then simply rocked Besarion Gochasvilli from Georgia and Azerbaijani Namiq Sevdimov. His gold medal puts him in the exclusive company of some of America's best wrestlers, including Dan Gable and Cael Sanderson.
Cejudo's win is going to cause a stir in the wrestling community because of how he reached the medal stand. Cejudo can be considered the Kobe Bryant of wrestling as he skipped the traditional route of going to college, and instead moved to the Olympic Training Center straight out of high school. Instead of wrestling the traditional collegiate way, folkstyle, and then moving on to freestyle after school, as every other U.S. Olympian has done, Cejudo has concentrated on freestyle from day one. His gold at 21 years of age validates this decision, and it may cause other top high school wrestlers to question whether college is the right thing for them.
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