Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling: Karapet Chalyan Suffers Controversial Loss To Azeri In Bronze-Medal Match
Karapet Chalyan and Rafig Huseynov battled in a passionate heat-fueled six-minute Greco-Roman (77kg) bronze medal match, which may have been spoiled by controversy.
Azerbaijan’s Huseynov was awarded two points by the referee in the dying minutes of the medal match due to an alleged headbutt by Chalyan, which NBC Sports analyst and two-time gold medalist John Smith claims came on incidental contact and shouldn’t have been called. Chalyan’s corner challenged the call, but it withstood and Huseynov was awarded an extra point due to the failed challenge.
“Put the whistle away,” Smith exclaimed during the broadcast. “There was a headbutt there — Huseynov maybe exaggerating a little bit — but they’re coming together! I don’t think — that shouldn’t be a game-changer. That type of scenario. That’s just wrestling. You’re gonna get poked in the eye, you’re going to get popped in the nose… It’s wrestling! He’s not trying to bust — he’s not thinking about headbutting people when it’s 1-1. He’s thinking about scoring and it gets tough!”
Nevertheless, the call stood, Huseynov was awarded three points on the controversial play and the Azeri came away with the bronze. Chalyan was notably frustrated after the match and did not make the best effort to shake Huseynov’s hand after the match.