An unceremonious ceremony

August 15, 2008
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BEIJING - Andrea Minguzzi of Italy was the surprise winner of the Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling 84-kilogram gold medal yesterday, defeating Zoltan Fodor of Hungary.

But Minguzzi's improbable win was overshadowed by an incident involving his semifinal win over Ara Abrahamian of Sweden. Abrahamian, the defending silver medalist, shouted at officials and stormed away from the podium during yesterday's medal ceremony, unhappy that points had been taken away during the semifinal match by judges.

Abrahamian had to be restrained by teammates after he approached the referee and judges after the decision. During the medal ceremony, he stepped off the podium, left his bronze medal in the middle of the wrestling mat, and walked away.

Minguzzi said Abrahamian's walkout "did in a way spoil the victory ceremony for me."

"Certainly one can always question decisions made in the course of refereeing, but in sports it is appropriate to show sportsmanship and accept the results," he said.

Abrahamian faces a hearing with the International Olympic Committee over the incident on the medal stand.

"There will be a disciplinary hearing on this matter," an IOC official told Reuters. It was not clear when the hearing would take place.

If the IOC considers his explanations are not sufficient or if it rules he has brought his sport into disrepute, he could risk being formally stripped of his medal.

"I don't care about this medal. I wanted gold," Abrahamian said. "This will be my last match. I wanted to take gold, so I consider this Olympics a failure."

Swedish coach Leo Myllari said of the decision, "It's all politics." He did not say if he would lodge a formal protest.

Minguzzi, who upset 2004 gold medalist Aleksey Mishin of Russia in the quarterfinals, was 45th in last year's world championships.

In the final, Fodor won the first period, 1-1, on a tiebreaker, but Minguzzi won the second, 1-1, before throwing Fodor in the third to win, 4-0.

The second bronze medal was won by Nazmi Avluca of Turkey. (

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