American wrestler David Taylor, a.k.a “Magic Man,” earned a gold medal for the United States this week in dramatic fashion, landing a takedown in the final 17 seconds of the championship match to edge out his Iranian opponent, Hassan “The Greatest” Yazdanicharati.
Taylor, competing in the Olympic’s 86kg freestyle wrestling finals, was behind Yazdanicharati 3-2 in the final seconds of the second period before hitting a takedown and scoring two points to put the American on top for a 4-3 win, and a gold medal for his nation.
None of the other matches were remotely as close — for both Taylor and Yazdanicharati, a known “hero” in Iran, the No. 1 seed, and a two-time world champion.
Taylor reportedly wrestled a total of 10 minutes and 49 seconds at the Olympics. Instead of going the full six-minutes, most matches ended early by pin or by what’s known as a technical fall, or a tech: when you’re up on an opponent by ten or more points, the match is called.
Heading into the championship match, Taylor’s had accumulated 33 points in his matches and only allowed opponents to score a total of two points.
OLYMPIC GOLD for The Magic Man!!!
Incredible finish for David Taylor!!!
📸 Tony Rotundo pic.twitter.com/lvb9ou0DFV
— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) August 5, 2021
“I’ve won a lot of medals in my career,” Taylor said after winning the gold. “This one feels a little bit heavier.”
“I like to win 10-0, but getting it done in the last seconds feels pretty good, too,” the wrestler said, according to ESPN.
“I think [Yazdanicharati] only tried three times to score,” Taylor added. “I always say that if you want to be the best in the world, you need to take people down twice. You need to get two takedowns. Tonight was a good example of that. I needed two takedowns.”
The takedown that won David Taylor the gold medal pic.twitter.com/3guS14K7Zv
— Wrestling Changed My Life (@Ryan_N_Warner) August 5, 2021
The Springfield News-Sun noted that Taylor has had a goal to win the Olympics since he was eight years old:
Taylor was 8 years old when his father, David, asked his son to write down his short-term and long-term goals. Among them: win four high school state titles, win four college national championships and win the Olympics.
“At the time being eight, I remember watching wrestling at a high level,” said Taylor, now 30. “I didn’t even know what the Olympics were or how difficult it was or what. I just knew it was the pinnacle.”
By the time Taylor was ten years old, FloWrestling reported, there was an “expectation” that the wrestler would one day win an Olympic gold.
“I’ve been carrying that my entire life,” Taylor said Thursday. “And I’m proud of it. It’s the way I wrestle, the way I represent myself when I’m out there, and I want to score points, I want to dominate people. That was the expectation at every single level that I went to. It wasn’t about just winning, it was about trying to dominate people.”
“I hit a little bump in the road when I got out of college and it took me a little longer to get to this point, but I’m grateful for that, for those trials,” added the gold medalist. “I’m grateful for having to go through adversity because it made me want to find a way to get that done with 10 seconds left.”
David Taylor on the last sprint to Olympic gold: pic.twitter.com/uCeNKemjuI
— Andy Hamilton (@Andy_Hamilton) August 5, 2021