It's been a quiet Olympics from a Hawkeye perspective. In fact, to the best of my knowledge the only athlete with current or former ties to the University of Iowa in action at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is Thomas Gilman. Gilman, a four-year star at 125 lbs at the University of Iowa, racking up a 107-12 record (including 77 bonus point victories) from 2013-14 to 2016-17. He was a Big Ten Champion in 2017, an NCAA runner-up in 2016, and a two-time Midlands champion. Though he never attained that much-coveted top spot on the podium at 125 lbs, he had an excellent career at Iowa.
Gilman trained with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club for several years after graduation, highlighted by a silver medal finish at the 2017 World Championships. He left the Hawkeye Wrestling Club a few years ago and currently trains with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club. That partnership has been fruitful for Gilman, as he won the U.S. OIympic Team Trials in April to lock down the 57 kg spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Now, after four months of waiting, Gilman will take the mat with another chance to contend for international glory.
What's the schedule for Gilman's competition?
Gilman's quest for Olympic gold begins tonight (Wednesday morning in Tokyo):
Team USA Olympic Schedule:— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) August 3, 2021
Starting at 10pm ET
-MFS 57 & 86kg Prelims & Quarters (Thomas Gilman, David Taylor)
-WFS 57kg Prelims & Quarters (Helen Maroulis)
Starting at 5:15 AM ET
-MFS 57 & 86kg Semis (Gilman, Taylor)
-WFS 57kg Semis (Maroulis)
Gilman will wrestle a preliminary round match tonight (beginning around 9 PM Central). If he wins that match, he'll then compete in the quarterfinals later tonight. Should he win that match, he would then move into semifinals, which will take place early tomorrow (Wednesday) morning in the U.S., around 4:15 AM Central. The finals would take place a few hours after that.
What does Gilman's draw look like?
As for Gilman's draw... woof. It would be hard to draw up a more challenging bracket path than the one that Gilman received. His first round opponent is the #2 seed Zaur Uguev of the Russian Olympic Committee. Uguev is the two-time defending World champion and hasn't lost since June of 2019. (Why isn't he the #1 seed? Good question if you ask me!) If Gilman survives Uguev, he would face either China's Minghu Liu or Uzbekistan's Gulomjon Abdullaev. Abdullaev is the #5 seed in the bracket and has multiple win over other Top 10 seeds over the last few months. Should Gilman make it to the semifinals, his most likely opponent is #3 seed Suleyman Atli of Turkey; Atli is a former World Silver and Bronze medalist. If Gilman makes it to the finals, well, he'll have already had an absolutely incredible tournament if that happens so we'll cross that bridge if we get there. More information on Gilman's draw is available here and here.
What happens if Gilman loses?
If Gilman loses, his tournament isn't automatically over. If the opponent who beats him advances to the gold medal match, then Gilman would be pulled into the consolation bracket, or repechage. He and the other wrestlers who lost to the two finalists would then compete in a pair of mini-brackets, with the winners of those two mini-brackets each earning bronze medals.
Who else is in action tonight/tomorrow?
Two other U.S. wrestlers will also be in early round action tonight: former Penn State superstar David Taylor (at 86 kg in men's freestyle) and defending gold medalist Helen Maroulis (57 kg in women's freestyle).
How do I watch these matches?
How to watch Gilman (or Taylor and Maroulis)? All matches are being streamed on NBCOlympics.com. You do need to have an existing cable/streaming subscription to access this coverage. You'll need to click the schedule tab and scroll to the area where the current live streams are listed.
All matches should also air live on The Olympic Channel, which is a premium sports channel available in many cable/streaming packages.
Good luck to Gilman, Taylor, and Maroulis as their Olympic journeys officially get underway. Kick some butt and bring home some medals.