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Taymazov wins third wrestling gold
By Luke Meredith
13:18 AEST Sun Aug 12 2012
Artur Taymazov
Artur Taymazov has written himself into Olympic history with his third heavyweight wrestling gold.

As a young boy in Russia, Artur Taymazov dreamed of becoming the next Alexander Karelin.

He did it.

Taymazov of Uzbekistan won his third straight Olympic wrestling gold in men's 120kg division on Saturday night, beating Georgia's Davit Modzmanashvili to become the third male wrestler to win gold medals in three straight Olympics.

Taymazov, who grew up in Russia and moved to Uzbekistan ahead of the Sydney Olympics in 2000, joins Alexander Medved of the former Soviet Union and Karelin as three-time winners.

Taymazov, by virtue of his silver in Sydney in 2000, also equaled Karelin's Olympic medal haul in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Taymazov quickly acknowledged that Karelin should still be ranked higher because he's won more world championships, but in terms of the Olympics Taymazov has matched him.

"He's the name in wrestling, and I'm really, really glad that I've equalised with him on the medal total," Taymazov said. "I wanted to be like (Karelin), and now I am."

A pair of Azerbaijanis; Toghrul Asgarov and Sharif Sharifov, also won gold medals on Saturday.

Asgarov won the Olympic wrestling gold medal in the men's 60kg freestyl, upsetting Besik Kudukhov of Russia 1-0 5-0.

Asgarov, the 19-year-old junior world champion from 2011, beat Coleman Scott of the United States in the semi-finals of the 60kg freestyle before taking down Kudukhov, the four-time world champion, in the final.

Kudukhov settled for bronze in Beijing and silver in London, while Scott recovered to win bronze.

Sharifov took gold in the 84kg freestyle by beating Jaime Yusept Espinal of Puerto Rico 6-1 2-0 Saturday.

What started out as a banner day for the Americans quickly dissolved in a mess of defeats and disputes.