SPORTS

Cuba's Mijain Lopez avenges Kayaalp defeat, repeats as Olympic champion

08/06/2012 05:27 EDT | Updated 10/06/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - After a redemptive win over Turkish rival Riza Kayaalp in the semifinals, Cuba's Mijain Lopez said that he didn't think anyone else could touch him.

Lopez wasn't bragging. Nobody was getting in the way of his second straight Olympic gold medal.

Lopez took down Heiki Nabi of Estonia 2-0, 1-0 to win gold in Greco-Roman at 120 kilograms Monday night in London.

Lopez is the third wrestler to win multiple golds at 120 kilograms, joining Russian legend Alexandre Karelin and Alexander Koltschinkski of the former Soviet Union.

Asked if he'd be back for the Rio Games in 2016, Lopez was noncommittal. But Monday's performance solidified his status as one of the greatest Greco-Roman heavyweights of all time.

"I mean I am 30 already. I have three Olympics behind me. It is going to be a little bit more difficult but life goes on," Lopez said.

Omid Noroozi of Iran won the gold medal in 60-kilogram Greco-Roman, while Alan Khugaev of Russia took the gold in men's 84-kilogram Greco-Roman.

But the most highly anticipated match of the day was between Lopez and Kayaalp.

Many in the wrestling world were stunned in 2011 when Kayaalp beat the formidable Lopez — who'd won world titles in 2005 and 2007, took Olympic gold in 2008 and then the next two world championships — at the world championships in Istanbul.

Lopez restored order to the heavyweight division he's dominated for years.

Lopez scored a pair of late points while on offence to win the first period and set the tone. The second period also went to the "par terre" tiebreaker position, this time with Lopez on the bottom and forced to keep Kayaalp from scoring.

Kayaalp flailed wildly as he tried to pick Lopez off the mat, but nothing he did worked.

The match with Nabi went almost exactly the same way.

Lopez scored two points with what's known as a gut wrench — which is to grab an opponents stomach and wrench them over — and Nabi couldn't get Cuba's star heavyweight on the ground in the next period, either.

"I think it was a really good fight," Lopez said.

Noroozi, the defending world champion, beat Georgia's Revaz Lashkhi 1-0, 1-0 to give Iran its second Greco-Roman medal in as many days. Hamid Soryan won the country's first Greco-Roman gold on Sunday.

Noroozi beat Kazakhstan's Almat Kebispayev in a rematch of the 2011 world championship final, then took out Lashkhi for his first gold medal.

"It's very good for Iran, especially how the national anthem went out in a prominent way. That everyone around the world can hear the national anthem. Everyone in Iran will be very happy," Noroozi said.

Khugaev beat former Olympic champion Karam Mohamed Gaber Ebrahim of Egypt 1-0, 2-0 to become Russia's second Greco-Roman winner of the London Olympics.

The 23-year-old Khugaev beat Georgia's Vladimer Gegeshidze in the semifinals, then took out Ebrahim to join 21-year-old teammate Roman Vlasov as gold medal winners.

"We have a very good future for Russia. We have brilliant coaches that can train very good athletes," Khugaev said.

Ebrahim won gold in Athens in 2004 at 96 kilograms. Eight years later and 12 kilograms lighter, he came up just one win shy of completing a remarkable comeback.

MORE:cpSports