David Taylor III said that his goal was never to be just an Olympian, clarifying via tweet on April 7th, 2021, that his focus is on bringing home the gold as an Olympic champion. Based on his laser-focused annihilation of each of his opponents by technical fall en route to the Olympic 86kg final in freestyle wrestling, the “Magic Man” is a man of his word and on a mission where only one outcome will be acceptable.
My goal has never been to be an Olympian, my goal is to be an Olympic Champion. I am grateful to earn this spot and represent the United States in Tokyo! Taylor Gang, thank you for the support — now let’s bring home the GOLD MEDAL! 🥇 pic.twitter.com/KcFT3ot7y9
— David Taylor (@magicman_psu) April 8, 2021
David Taylor’s 2020 Olympic Path
A 2018 World Champion, former two-time Dan Hodge Trophy and NCAA championship winner, four-time NCAA finalist and Big Ten champion, Taylor started his Tokyo Olympic journey without conceding a single point to former four-time World Championship medalist Ali Shabanau from Belarus, winning 11-0 by technical fall.
Check out David Taylor's 🇺🇸 footwork on this double leg. He enters w/ ankle pick mechanics, brings back knee forward as he reaches for other leg, drives again (off front leg this time) to get hips in, then steps w/ left foot to change angle + bring his hips even closer. Masterful pic.twitter.com/9o4lZ0Nhyq
— Dan Sweeney (@DPSBreakdowns) August 4, 2021
In the quarterfinal, Taylor took on another former Big Ten champion Myles Amine, who was representing San Marino by virtue of his mother’s grandmother being a citizen and having reached the semifinals of the 2019 World Championships. The “Magic Man” overcame an early takedown by Amine to score a 12-2 technical fall to qualify for the semifinals.
Taylor continued to lay waste to the competition in the 86kg semifinal against defending World Championship silver medalist Deepak Punia from India, once again rag-dolling his opponent while not giving up a single point, securing a 10-0 technical fall.
2020 Olympics Gold Medal Match: David Taylor vs. Hassan Yazdani
In the gold medal match, David Taylor will have his own trilogy match up against the defending 2016 Olympic Champion Hassan Yazdani from Iran.
Yazdani has also dominated the competition leading up to the final, scoring a 11-2 win over Uzbekistan’s Javrail Shapiev, beating Switzerland’s Stefan Reichmuth 12-2 in the quarterfinals and handling Russian wrestler Artur Naifonov 7-1 to advance to the final.
This will be the third time that the Magic Man will take on Yazdani, having pinned the Iranian in the final of the 2017 World Cup.
David Taylor pins Olympic gold medalist Hassan Yazdani Charati to finish his unbeaten run at the World Cup. pic.twitter.com/oTPOAkT9Nw
— Trackwrestling (@trackwrestling) February 17, 2017
Yazdani is 62-2 in his last 62 matches with the two losses coming from Taylor, his most recent defeat to Taylor coming in the 2018 World Championships, 6-11 in the first round.
Will the Iranian have what it takes to make the third time the charm and stop the runaway train that is the American Magic Man’s quest for gold?
Prior the the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the betting odds for David Taylor to win gold was (-105) and now sportsbooks are no longer offering odds for Taylor to win gold, indicating that he is such a prohibitive favorite that offering odds are not worth it.
Arguably my favorite bet of the tournament:
86kg David Taylor (-105) $1050 to win $1000
— Andrew Gombas Bets (@BetsandPicksMMA) July 27, 2021
While nothing is a lock in combat sports, David Taylor is in a great position to finish what he vowed to do on April 7th in what should be an action-packed trilogy fight for Olympic gold.
'The Magic Man' vs. 'The Greatest'
They've met twice, and twice David TAYLOR 🇺🇸picked up convincing victories over Olympic champion Hasan YAZDANI 🇮🇷. Who are you taking if the pair of superstars collide at the #WrestleTokyo Olympic Games? #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/q1SFgtQOSN
— United World Wrestling (@wrestling) July 30, 2021
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