CHIBA, Japan — Graham High School graduate David Taylor seized the most important moment of his wrestling life.
The American scored a double-leg takedown with 17 seconds remaining to beat Iran’s Hassan Yazdani 4-3 on Thursday and claim the gold medal in the freestyle 86-kilogram class.
Known as “Magicman” for his ability to score at the most opportune time, Taylor battled from behind to win the medal.
“There was no way I wasn’t going to find a way,” Taylor said. “It’s the gold medal, man. I was going to rip my arms off if I had to.”
Taylor expected a tough match from the man nicknamed “The Greatest.” Yazdani, the No. 1 seed, won the 74-kilogram class at the 2016 Olympics.
“I like to win 10-0, but getting it done in the last seconds feels pretty good, too,” Taylor said.
He took advantage of Yazdani’s decision to be cautious.
“I think he only tried three times to score,” Taylor said. “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.”
A watch party was held at Graham Middle School and was shown during the telecast on The Olympic Channel.