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U.S. fails to qualify Olympic men’s freestyle weight class for first time

Frank Molinaro

IOWA CITY, IOWA - APRIL 09: Frank Molinaro and Aaron Pico compete during their Freestyle 65kg championship match on day 1 of the Olympic Team Wrestling Trials at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on April 9, 2016 in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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There will be a men’s freestyle wrestling division at a non-boycotted Olympics without a U.S. entry for the first time this summer.

Frank Molinaro failed in his last chance to earn the U.S. a 65kg berth in Rio, losing in the quarterfinals of an Olympic qualifying tournament in Istanbul on Sunday.

Molinaro, the Olympic Trials champion, needed to make the finals to clinch an Olympic spot.

The U.S. had three previous chances to earn a Rio berth in the division at the 2015 World Championships (Brent Metcalf lost in the round of 16 when he needed to be top six), a March Pan American tournament (Metcalf lost in the quarterfinals when he needed to make the final) and an April world tournament in Mongolia (Molinaro lost in the round of 16 when he needed to be top three).

Including the six divisions in Rio, there have been 198 Olympic men’s freestyle events since the technique’s debut at the St. Louis 1904 Games.

The U.S. has now qualified in 197 of 198 in those 112 years, with the Rio 65kg now being the lone exception.

The U.S. Olympic wrestling team will include 13 members total in 18 weight classes, the first time the roster size is fewer than 16 since 1952, when the U.S. didn’t enter any Greco-Roman wrestlers at the Helsinki Games.

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