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Penn State Wrestling Great David Taylor Confirms Retirement

David Taylor file photo from TeamUSA.org

What everybody assumed is now true: Penn State wrestling great David Taylor has retired from athletic competition.

When Taylor accepted the head coaching job at Oklahoma State, it was widely felt that he’d be done with freestyle wrestling.

At his introductory presser in Stillwater late Friday morning, Taylor confirmed it, saying that both he and new OSU assistant coach Thomas Gilman “just finished our competition career.”

Gilman, who wrestled at Iowa but joined the Nittany Lion Wrestling club after his college career, had his career end in a similar fashion to Taylor’s. At the Olympic Trials held in Happy Valley last month, Gilman and Taylor each had to win a best-of-three series to advance to Paris, with Gilman taking on fellow former Hawkeye Spencer Lee at 57 KG and Taylor taking on fellow Penn State wrestling legend Aaron Brooks at 86.

In Gilman’s case, he would have had to still win in Istanbul at the last chance qualifiers, which Lee has to do this weekend.

Taylor said later in his presser that he knew 2024 would be his last year of competition.

He was hoping the summer would end with him winning a second consecutive Olympic Gold Medal, a feat he first achieved at the Tokyo Games in 2021.

Assuming Brooks can compete in Paris, he’ll be the U.S. representative at 86 KG after beating Taylor in two straight matches.

As of earlier this week, Taylor was the alternate at 86, which Nittany Sports Now confirmed through USA Wrestling. It’s not confirmed what the plan will be if Brooks isn’t able to go but if he can go to Paris, this will be it for Taylor on the mat.

A two-time Hodge Trophy (wrestling’s Heisman) winner at Penn State, three-time World Champ and 2021 Olympic Gold Medalist, Taylor will go down as one of the all-time greats.

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