RIO DE JANEIRO – 2012 Clarion graduate Bekzod Abdurakhmonov came within two points of becoming the second Golden Eagle alumni to achieve Olympic immortality, reaching the bronze medal round of the Men's Freestyle 74kg but falling just short against Jabrayil Hasanov (Azerbaijan) at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Abdurakhmonov, who entered the competition ranked 10th in the world, battled through a difficult bracket draw to come within seconds of medaling. Trailing Hasanov 8-3 in the final second of their bronze medal bout, Abdurakhmonov scored a quick takedown and a tilt against Hasanov to pull within 8-7 as the clock wound down. The comeback was very nearly completed as Abdurakhmonov attempted to lift Hasanov off the mat and expose his shoulders one final time, but the final buzzer sounded before he could finish the job. Abdurakhmonov lost his subsequent challenge to set the final score at 9-7.
The match immediately before, however, will likely go down as one of the greatest in his career. Going head-to-head with the reigning gold medal winner in the event, Abdurakhmonov shocked the world by defeating Jordan Burroughs (USA) by 11-1 technical fall in the quarterfinal. Abdurakhmonov racked up a 6-0 lead to open the match before Burroughs tallied his first by forcing Abdurakhmonov out of the circle.
The former Golden Eagle kept up the pressure, however, and eventually wore Burroughs down on the edge of the mat. Burroughs missed on an attempt to take down Abdurakhmonov late and challenged the decision while trailing 8-1; matside officials ruled not only that Burroughs was incorrect, but also that Abdurakhmonov had earned two additional points in the process. Those extra three points were added to Abdurakhmonov's score, completing the 11-1 decision.
Abdurakhmonov rebounded from a difficult loss in his opening round match to eventual finalist Aniuar Geduev (Russia), who defeated him by a 10-5 score early in the morning. Thanks to Geduev's upset of Burroughs in the next round, though, Abdurakhmonov was afforded another shot on the mat.