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Uzbekistan''s Artur Taymazov (R) wrestles Georgia''s Davit Modzmanashvili in their Men''s 120kg gold medal match on August 11, 2012 during the wrestling event of the London 2012 Olympic Games. AFP PHOTO / MARWAN NAAMANI Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/GettyImages
Artur Taymazov: Pride of Uzbekistan

14 Oct 2012
Uzbekistan’s Artur Taymazov cemented his place in Freestyle Wrestling history at the London Olympics after defeating Davit Modzmanashvili of Georgia to win his third successive gold medal in the men's 120kg division. Taymazov, who also has a silver medal from Sydney 2000, became the only wrestler in history to win three gold medals in the super heavyweight division.

The 33-year-old Uzbek did not drop a point en route to the final and maintained his excellent form in the gold medal bout. An emotional Taymazov said afterwards: “It's a dream come true, a great moment for the Uzbek nation.” Taymazov, a two-time world champion, first represented Uzbekistan at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, where he won a silver medal in the 130kg category.

Four years later in Athens he upgraded his wrestling medal to gold in the 120kg class and defended his title at Beijing in 2008. His victory in London earned him a golden hat trick and secured his place as a sporting legend in Uzbekistan and beyond.

His career could have been so different, however, as he began as a weightlifter. His older brother, Timur Taymazov, was the 1996 Olympic Games champion in weightlifting. But when he turned 11, a freestyle wrestling club opened in his village and he switched to this sport in 1990. It has proved to be the right decision as he now owns three Olympic gold medals and one silver from his four appearances.
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