U.S. Olympic wrestler Ben Provisor banned 16 months

Ben Provisor
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Ben Provisor, a two-time U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler, was banned 16 months, retroactive to July 11, after testing positive for amphetamine.

A U.S. Anti-Doping Agency review determined Provisor’s positive test was caused by medication prescribed by a physician that he was using in a therapeutic dose. Provisor did not have a current prescription nor did he have a valid therapeutic use exemption (TUE) at the time of his test that would have allowed him to take the medication legally.

Provisor has since obtained a prospective TUE.

The 32-year-old Provisor’s test was done at a competition where he qualified for the world championships. Provisor was given a provisional suspension in July and later replaced on the world team by the man he beat at the qualifier, Spencer Woods, in the week leading up to September’s worlds.

Provisor lost in the round of 16 at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016. He was eliminated before the final of last year’s Olympic Trials.

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Kyle Snyder wins wrestling worlds in rival’s absence; U.S. wins most medals for first time

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Kyle Snyder won his first global title in five years — in the absence of his Russian rival — and the U.S. finished the world wrestling championships with the most medals outright for the first time in history.

Snyder, a 2016 Olympic champion, grabbed his third world championships gold — and first since 2017 — by topping Russian-turned Slovak Batyrbek Tsakulov 6-0 in Sunday’s 97kg final in Belgrade.

Also Sunday, American Yianni Diakomihalis took 65kg silver, falling to Iranian Rahman Amouzad 13-8 in the final. Seth Gross lost his bronze-medal match at 61kg.

The U.S. finished the weeklong championships with a program record-tying 15 medals — two more than second-place Japan — and a program record seven gold medals — matching Japan’s total. The U.S. finished past worlds tied for the most medals, but never in first place alone until now.

The medal standings were impacted by the absence of Russia and Belarus, whose wrestlers are banned from international competition due to the war in Ukraine. Russian wrestlers won the most medals at the 2021 World Championships (18) and were second to the Americans with eight medals at the Tokyo Games.

Snyder’s primary rival is Russian Abdulrashid Sadulayev. They met in four of the previous five global championship finals, with Sadulayev, nicknamed the Russian Tank, winning the last three meetings.

Snyder spent a week with Sadulayev in his native Dagestan last year, after the Russian beat him in the Olympic and world championships finals. In June, Snyder called Sadulayev’s absence “a bummer.”

“World championships, I’m thinking Russia, USA versus Russia, that’s what it is in my mind,” he said. “So to not have him there really stinks.”

Sadulaev posted on Instagram after Snyder’s title Sunday.

“You know who was absent there,” he wrote. “My friend, I’m ready to give you another chance to become a real king in the 97 kg weight class. Our viewers deserve the continuance of story.”

Before that, Snyder’s next major challenge may be domestic.

J’den Cox, a two-time world champ in the non-Olympic 92kg class, said he plans to move up to 97kg for next year. Cox also moved up to 97kg last year, but a potential showdown with Snyder at Olympic Trials was nixed when Cox missed the weigh-in deadline to start the event.

Snyder then swept Cox in two 97kg matches on March 16 in a special event in Detroit.

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Kyle Dake wins fourth straight wrestling world title; U.S. breaks gold medals record

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Kyle Dake became the second American wrestler to win four consecutive world titles, pushing the U.S. to its most gold medals ever at a single world championships with one day left in Belgrade.

Dake notched the U.S.’ sixth gold medal this week, breaking the nation’s previous record of five golds in a single year, with a shot at two more on Sunday.

The U.S. is guaranteed to finish worlds with the most medals of any nation, its first time ever doing that outright. Russia, banned this year due to the war in Ukraine, won the most medals at the last three world championships.

Last year, the U.S. topped the Olympic wrestling total medal standings for the first time ever when it hasn’t been host nation.

Dake, a Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist, joined John Smith as the lone Americans to accomplish a four-peat at worlds. Dake won his first two at the non-Olympic 79kg weight class and the last two at 74kg, while Smith won all of his at 62kg (plus two Olympic golds).

Dake defeated Slovakian Tajmuraz Salkazanov 3-1 in a rematch of last year’s world final. Wrestlers from now banned Russia and Belarus earned gold and silver in the Tokyo Olympic 74kg division.

Next, Dake plans to move from Cornell, where he became the only wrestler to win NCAA titles at four different weights (2010-13), to Penn State to train with a club that includes Olympic champions Kyle Snyder and David Taylor.

The U.S. added silver medals Saturday from Olympic bronze medalists J’den Cox (92kg) and Thomas Gilman (57kg).

Cox was beaten by Iran’s Kamran Ghasempour at a second straight world championships, falling 2-0 in the final. Gilman fell 7-2 to Albanian Zelimkhan Abakarov in his final.

“I already got my tears out of me, and I’m probably going to have some more,” said Cox, who plans to move back up to 97kg in 2023 to challenge Snyder.

Also Saturday for the Americans, Snyder and three-time NCAA champion Yianni Diakomihalis (65kg) advanced to Sunday finals. Seth Gross (61kg) will wrestle for bronze.

If Gross wins his match, the U.S. will win its most-ever total medals at a single worlds, surpassing its 15 from last year.

U.S. men’s freestylers made the gold-medal final in eight of 10 weight classes, a program record (though in many years there have not been that many classes at worlds, and the absence of Belarus and Russia is noteworthy).

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