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US Olympic Wrestling Trials: Taylor downs Nickal in battle of PSU greats to earn first Olympic bid

Photo from Nittany Lion Wrestling Club

In a battle of legendary Penn State wrestlers, David Taylor defeated Bo Nickal in the 86kg finals Saturday night at the U.S. Olympic Trials to earn his first Olympics berth.

In a best-of-three format, Taylor downed Nickal 4-0 in the first match and 6-0 in the second to win the title in Fort Worth, Texas. He will now represent the United States in the Tokyo Olympics later this year.

Nickal earned a spot on the US National Team by finishing second.

Taylor was a two-time NCAA champion and two-time Hodge Trophy winner at Penn State. Nickal won three NCAA titles and one Hodge Trophy.

The biggest difference between the two certainly seemed to be the experience level in these types of national and international events. The following tweet thread explains that difference in good detail.

The fact that Nickal, an incredible wrestler in his own right, was unable to score a point on Taylor in two matches goes to show just how locked in and prepared Taylor was.

The two are good friends and trained together, so they obviously know each other very well.

Taylor won the gold medal at the 2018 World Championships. He also had won three US championships (2015, ’17 and ’18), but the 30-year-old had yet to make an Olympic team.

Until now.

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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