Former freestyle wrestler Mitsuo Ikeda, who won a gold medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, died of esophagus cancer Thursday, his family said. He was 67.

As a Chuo University senior, Ikeda beat gold-medal favorite Vakhtang Balavadze of the Soviet Union in the final round on his way to becoming the first Japanese Olympic champion in the welterweight class.

After his retirement, Hokkaido native Ikeda became a coach for the Japanese national team.

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