Israeli wrestler captures bronze medal at elite French competition

The American-born Finesilver earned All-American status as a Duke University grappler at the 2019 National Collegiate Athletic Association wrestling championship.

wrestling 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
wrestling 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
An Israeli wrestling star was born in Nice, France, on Saturday: Mitchell Louis Finesilver won the bronze medal in the freestyle 74-kg. weight class, defeating an Azerbaijani opponent at the elite wrestling competition.
“I have a lot of pride being able to represent Israel on the world’s stage,” he said. “It’s amazing to be able to represent my culture and heritage.”
“I feel as though I competed decently,” Finesilver told The Jerusalem Post. “I felt better as the day went
on, though. Lots of work to still be done. I would love to represent Israel at the Olympics, but I still need
to qualify [in] the weight first. Those tournaments will be held in March and April.”
He is the first Israeli to win a medal at the competition in nearly a decade.
The US-born Finesilver prevailed over Azerbaijan’s Joshgun Azimov 2-1 for the bronze medal. His 5-2 win over
Poland’s Kamil Rybicki to enter the bronze medal round was a thriller that prompted FloWrestling journalist
David Bray to tweet: “Mitch Finesilver will wrestle for bronze. Looked solid in that last match.”
Finesilver beat Azerbaijan’s Gadzhimurad Omarov 4-2 in his opening match. Azerbaijan produces some of the
world’s top wrestlers.
Kyle Dake, a two-time world champion from the US, defeated Finesilver 11-0 in the second round. Dake went on
to win the Henri Deglane tournament.
In his “wrestleback” bracket match, where wrestlers who were defeated on the way to the finals seek to secure
a bronze medal, Finesilver prevailed over his French opponent Charles Afa 12-1. Finesilver sported a red and
white singlet with a Star of David on his wrestling uniform.
The tournament in Nice is named after Henri Deglane (1902-1975), who was a French Olympic champion in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Finesilver earned All-American status as a Duke University grappler at the 2019 National Collegiate Athletic
Association Wrestling Championships.
“It’s an unbelievable [feeling] honestly,” Finesilver told at the time. “I worked my whole career
and whole life for this. Lots and lots of hard work. Lots of late nights. Lots of workouts. A lot of blood,
tears and sweat. To reach, at least some degree, my goal is pretty awesome and unbelievable.”
The Duke Chronicle said: “The start of the 2019-2020 season marks the beginning of the end of the Finesilver
era of Duke wrestling.”
Finesilver has a fraternal twin brother, Zach, who also wrestled for Duke.
A second set of fraternal twins from the family, Josh and Matt Finesilver, currently compete for Duke, a
prestigious university in Durham, North Carolina.
The Duke Blue Devils, wrote the paper, “enjoyed two years of having four gritty and talented wrestlers all
from the same household.”
Finesilver was a two-time Colorado State champion and four-time state qualifier. The 149-pound wrestler was
named the 2018-19 Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He also received an ACC
postgraduate scholarship. Finesilver majored in evolutionary anthropology.