Pan Am Olympic Qualifiers: American Wrestler Kamal Bey Suffers Heartbreaking Loss, Dashing Paris Aspirations

Published 02/28/2024, 7:37 PM EST

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USA Greco-Roman wrestling received another blow as one of its star prospects lost his Paris Olympics contention. Fighting in the 77kg category, Kamal Bey lost the Pan Am Olympic Qualifiers semifinal, despite leading the charge initially. 


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USA Wrestling announced the sad news of his defeat on X with the caption, “Cuero mounts a comeback and defeats Bey with a six-point second period. Final, 6-4. #WrestleAcapulco.” Kamal Bey had a formidable 4-0 lead in the beginning. 

However, he couldn’t defend his lead to the end of the bout and suffered a crushing Pan Am Olympic Qualifiers defeat. With this, Bey’s Paris Olympic dream has now been vetoed for the next iteration in Los Angeles in 2028. Bey’s boat had started to stumble during the Pan Am Championships. Despite being the 2023 defending champion, he had to settle for a bronze medal. 

Now, his disrupted rhythm unfortunately closed his doors to Paris at the Pan Am Olympic Qualifiers. Bey was one of the top prospects for the contest since he is also a world team member for USA Wrestling. Unfortunately, the Greco-Roman division also faced a loss from another top prospect who was supposed to clear the 67kg bracket for the US.

US Army grappler Alejandro Sancho was going strong in the Pan Am Olympic Qualifiers as well but ended up losing the semifinal. Just recently, Sancho won the gold medal at the 2024 Pan American Championship. However, his Acapulco winning streak was shattered today. But, the day wasn’t a total losing affair for the US. In fact, they secured three Greco-Roman berths for the upcoming Paris Games.


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The US victories at the Pan Am Olympic Qualifiers

Team USA secured three weight class quotas for the 2024 Olympic Games in Greco-Roman wrestling due to impressive performances by Spencer Woods at 87 kg, Alan Vera at 97 kg, and Cohlton Schultz at 130 kg. This achievement has secured the United States the highest number of Greco-Roman Olympic qualifying slots among all countries at the Pan Am Olympic Qualifiers.

Out of all the bouts fought, the 87kg Spencer Woods versus Daniel Gregorich Hecavarria took the spotlight. The US Army soldier stood strong against the Cuban Olympian who has four Pan American Championships under his belt. 


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The army man clinched his Pan Am Olympic Qualifiers bout despite the experience gap and successfully secured a leg foul which earned him a 6-3 victory. With this, the trio has come a step closer to medalling in Paris. Will they be able to clear the Olympic trials and win the top gold in the French Capital in another 148 days?


Written by:

Ankit Singh


One take at a time

Ankit Singh is a senior Olympic Sports correspondent at EssentiallySports who covers gymnastics, track and field, and the NCAA Women's Division 1 Volleyball. In his early days at ES, Ankit covered two prime track and field events - the 2023 World Athletics Championships and the 2023 Prefontaine Classic. During the 2023 NCAA Division 1 women’s Volleyball championships, Ankit covered the Nebraska Huskers and the Wisconsin Badgers rivalry, and later covered the transfer portals after the Texas Longhorns lifted the victory.
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Edited by:

Bhujaya Ray Chowdhury