Jordan Oliver, unfortunately, won’t be going to the Olympics this summer.
Oliver, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion for Oklahoma State, failed to qualify for the 2021 Olympic Games through the World Olympic Qualifier on Thursday in Sofia, Bulgaria, a last-chance qualification tournament for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.
The 30-year-old reached the semifinals in the men’s freestyle competition at 65 kilograms (143 pounds), but fell to Poland’s Magomedmurad Gadzhiev, 3-2. Only the finalists qualified their country for the Olympics, which are set to begin July 23.
As such, the United States won’t have a representative in the 65-kg men’s freestyle competition in Tokyo. The other five men’s freestyle weights, as well as all six in women’s freestyle and four of the six in Greco-Roman, have all qualified.
Oliver was tasked with earning the bid after he won the U.S. Olympic Team Trials last month in Texas. The Easton, Pennsylvania native opened with three grueling victories to position himself for a potential Olympic bid.
He opened a 6-2 win over Bulgaria’s Ruhan Rasim, scoring three straight step-out points then converting a takedown in the second period. In round two, Oliver beat Korea’s Junsik Yun, 5-4. He led 3-2 with less than two minutes remaining, then connected on a low-single to go up 5-2 and ice the match.
In the quarterfinals, Oliver scored late to beat Ukraine’s Hor Ohannesian, 3-3 on criteria. Ohannesian, a third-place finisher at the 2019 European Games, led 3-1, but Oliver scored a takedown in the waning moments to win by virtue of scoring the last points.
But in the semifinals, Oliver found himself in a 3-0 hole after the first period. Gadzhiev, a 2016 Olympian and two-time world medalist, scored twice on step-outs and another on a shot-clock point. Oliver cut the lead to 3-2 with a takedown with less than a minute remaining, but couldn’t complete the comeback for a second-straight match.
Last month, Oliver became the 33rd former Cowboy wrestler to make the U.S. Olympic team, but unlike the 32 that came before him, his dream of competing in the Olympics dream remains on hold.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.