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Mizzou wrestling great J'den Cox fails to make weight at US Olympic trials

Cody Goodwin
Columbia Daily Tribune
Former Missouri standout J'den Cox of the United States holds a national flag as he celebrates his victory over Alireza Mohammad Karimimachiani of Iran in their gold match during the Wrestling World Championships on Sept. 21 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Before the U.S. Olympic Trials even started Friday morning, USA Wrestling announced that J'den Cox would not be competing because he failed to make weight.

Cox, a two-time world champ and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, was entered at 97 kilograms (213 pounds) and primed to compete in the semifinals by virtue of winning a 2019 world championship at a non-Olympic weight, 92 kilos (202 pounds).

The former three-time national champion at Missouri and four-time state champion at Hickman was removed from the bracket before he got that opportunity.

Cox was inside Dickies Arena on time for weigh-ins, which ended at 8 a.m., but did not make weight during the allotted weigh-in time. He is not the first premier wrestler to face weigh-in problems. Rulon Gardner, an Olympic gold medalist in 2000, was late to the scale at the 1996 Olympic Trials and did not compete.

Cox’s coach, Kevin Jackson, said he is planning to appeal the decision in the hopes that Cox will wrestle later on Friday.

Had Cox won Friday's challenge tournament, he would've faced Kyle Snyder, a two-time world champ and 2016 Olympic gold medalist, in Saturday's best-of-three finals for the right to go to Tokyo this summer.

Cox's removal from the tournament means that two high-profile wrestlers are not competing this weekend. Nick Suriano, who entered at 57 kilos (125 pounds), was removed from the tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test result earlier this week.