Islam-Beka Albiev won Russia's second Greco-Roman wrestling gold medal in as many Olympic matches Tuesday, defeating Vitaliy Rahimov of Azerbaijan in the 60-kilogram final. The 19-year-old Albiev is the second youngest wrestling gold medalist in Olympic history and the youngest Greco-Roman champion, according to governing body FILA.
The youngest to win any wrestling gold was Saban Trstena, who was slightly younger than Albiev currently is when he won at 52 kg for Yugoslavia in 1984.
Albiev, eighth at last year's world championships, swept the two periods of the best-of-three match against Rahimov, winning the first 2-0 and the second 4-0.
The teenager's victory came minutes after Nazyr Mankiev of Russia was the surprise winner at 55 kg. He had defeated three-time defending world champion Hamid Soryan of Iran in the quarterfinals. The bronze medals were won by Ruslan Tiumenbaev of Kyrgyzstan and Nurbakyt Tengizbayev of Kazakhstan.
Armen Nazarian of Bulgaria failed to become only the sixth wrestler to win four Olympic medals when he lost twice at 60 kg, first to Rahimov in the quarterfinals and again to Sheng Jiang of China in the repechage round.
It was a disappointing finish on a day that began with so much promise for the 34-year-old Nazarian after he had defeated world champion David Bedinadze of Georgia in a qualification match. Nazarian, who had looked past his prime in Athens four years ago, had drawn Bedinadze early because wrestlers aren't seeded and brackets are determined by a blind draw.
Bedinadze had been favored to win Georgia's first Olympic wrestling gold medal, one that might have given his countrymen a brief moment of joy at the very time Russian troops are swarming through the country.