McGuire’s Rio ’16: Wrestling- Mizzou’s Cox Wins Bronze (The Finals)

Missouri Tiger and Bronze Medalist, J'den Cox

Day 15

An unsuccessful challenge against a passivity ruling in his semifinal matchup is what may have put J’den Cox out of the running for a gold medal, but a successful one helped him bring a medal home nonetheless.

Hot off a 5-1 trouncing of Iran’s Alireza Karimi, Cox was knocked from contention by way of the above-mentioned failed challenge after tying Turkey’s Selim Yasar 1-1. Similar to the NFL and losing a timeout after a failed challenge, Cox then surrendered a point to Yasar (2-1.) 

“I choose to enjoy what I do and realize I’m still alive, I’m still breathing and have joy in what I do and let it be the past,” he said. “ … Time-traveling is not invented. Until that day comes, I just have to learn how to accept defeat” The Kansas City Star wrote.

The situation must have lit a fire inside Cox as he then shut out Cuba’s Reineris Salas 5-0 before he refused to continue their match following a takedown. The referee then awarded the match (and by extension the bronze in 86 kg Men’s freestyle wrestling) to the U.S. for their first of three wrestling medals.

“I represented my country the way that life is,” he said. “Made mistakes, had to overcome and got to … maybe not where I wanted to end up, but I got to where I needed to go….this is a tough, grueling sport,” he said. “We all travel hundreds of thousands of miles to come to one venue (and) … get our faces ripped off by another human being…”

“And for six minutes … excuse me for saying this, (of) going through hell and beyond of just pulling people and yanking people and pulling this and going through (that)… and losing weight and all this crud that’s going on and the crowd and the atmosphere…It’s a beautiful, wonderful thing that’s out of pure chaos.”

His teammates Helen Maroulis and Kyle Snyder both took gold on Day 13 and Day 16 in Women’s 53 kg and Men’s 97 kg freestyle wrestling respectively.

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Final Combat Sports Medal Count: The U.S. took home three medals in boxing (1G, 1S, 1B) three in wrestling (2G, 0S, 1B) , two in judo (1G,1S, 0B), 1 in taekwondo (0G, 0S, 1B) for a total of nine medals. They placed 4th in wrestling and judo, 6th in boxing, and 9th in taekwondo.

*Fencing was not included in InsideSTL Olympic combat coverage.

Final Overall Medal Count


United States
46 37 38 121

Great Britain
27 23 17 67

26 18 26 70