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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Strike Wrestling Gold

ST. PETERSBURG -- Russians won six of 10 gold medals in wrestling at the Goodwill Games, leaving no doubt they are back at the top of world wrestling.


The United States, the reigning world champions, won just two gold medals. Their next showdown comes Aug. 25-28 at the world championships in Istanbul, Turkey.


"I think you'll see a different U.S. wrestling team when we go to Turkey," said Zeke Jones, who won gold Sunday at 52 kilos. "I'm surprised the team didn't do as well as we all thought."


The other U.S. gold went Saturday to Townsend Saunders at 68 kilos. The two live on the same street in the Phoenix area, eight kilometers apart.


The hottest question for U.S. coach Greg Strobel and his Russian counterpart Arsen Fadzayev surrounded training tactics. Strobel said the Americans were peaking for the world championships and hadn't emphasized the Goodwill Games.


Fadzayev, a two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion, admitted his team had gone through a tough, several-week camp for the Games. But had they peaked? No way.


"We didn't over-train for this, we'll be ready for the world championship," Fadzayev said. "We're not going to give away the world championship. It will be between the Americans and Russians as always."


"We've heard it was the toughest training they've had in years," said American Olympic and world champion Bruce Baumgartner.


Baumgartner had to settle for bronze Sunday at 130 kilos, illustrating the state of American readiness. His first-round loss to Russian Andrei Shumilin in overtime was his first in 23 matches. The last was also against Shumilin.


"The word I'd use right now for our wrestling here is lackluster," said Goodwill coach Greg Strobel. "I think we wrestled well. We just weren't perfect. This was a world-class event and we didn't come in here peaked for it."


Two of the Amerians' four world champions missed the meet -- twin brothers Terry Brands at 57 kilos and Tom Brands at 62 kilos. Terry bowed out with a back and hip injury and Tom elected to skip the meet and focus on Turkey.


Also winning gold Sunday was Turkey's Ismail Zurnaci, who pinned Russia Bagaudin Umachanov in 2:25 at 57 kilos. In Baumgartner's 130-kilo division, Georgian Zaza Turmanidze beat Shumilin 1-0 in overtime.


The United States captured eight medals -- two gold, three silver and three bronze. The Russians added three silver medals to their six gold.