Tonight’s medal rounds in women’s wrestling will feature a titanic showdown in the women’s 53kg division between U.S. wrestler Helen Maroulis and Japan’s Saori Yoshida.
Maroulis is seeking the first gold medal in women’s wrestling for the U.S., while Yoshida is trying to become the second wrestler to ever win four gold medals, one day after her teammate Kaori Icho became the first.
The medal rounds will also feature Elena Pirozhkova, a two-time Olympian for Team USA, wrestling in a bronze medal match in the 63kg division.
Maroulis was on a roll early, winning her first two matches by technical fall. It was a quick turnaround from her Round of 16 bout to her quarterfinal match though, and there she found herself in trouble against North Korea’s Jong Myong-Suk. Maroulis overcame a late 4-1 deficit with several late scores to win the bout 7-4 and move into the semifinals.
Maroulis then pinned Swedish wrestler Sofia Mattsson, the world No. 2 at 53kg, in the semis to book her spot in the gold medal match.
There, Maroulis will face Saori Yoshida, the three-time reigning Olympic gold medalist and 13-time world champion. Currently, Yoshida is the reigning world champion at 53kg; Maroulis is the reigning world champion at 55kg.
Pirozhkova, a 2012 world champion and two-time Olympian, prevailed in a thrilling 10-7 bout against Bulgaria’s Taybe Yusein to start her day, then upset reigning world champion Soronzonbold Battsetseg of Mongolia 3-2 in the quarterfinals.
Pirozhkova dropped a close semifinal match to Maria Mamashuk of Belarus by a score of 3-2, but will wrestle in a bronze medal match this afternoon against a winner from the repechage bouts.
The stunner of the day was three-time world champion Adeline Gray being eliminated in the quarterfinals. After pinning her first opponent in less than two minutes, Gray struggled to put up points against Belarus’ Vasilisa Marzaliuk, the world No. 3. Marzaliuk ended up sealing a 4-1 win on a late score.
Because Marzaliuk lost her next match, Gray will not be pulled into the repechage for a chance at a bronze medal.
Yoshida (JPN) wins 9-0 vs. Sambou (SEN)
Arguello (VEN) wins 6-3 vs. Prevolaraki (GRE)
Mattsson (SWE) wins 10-3 vs. Krawcyz (POL)
Maroulis (USA) wins 7-4 vs. Jong (PRK)
Pirozhkova (USA) wins 3-2 vs. Soronzonbold (MGL)
Mamashuk (BLR) wins 7-2 vs. Johansson (SWE)
Kawai (JPN) wins 8-2 vs. Grigorjeva (LAT)
Trazhukova (RUS) wins 5-4 vs. Xu (CHN)
Marzaliuk (BLR) wins 4-1 vs. Gray (USA)
Wiebe (CAN) wins 5-2 vs. Zhang (CHN)
Manyurova (KAZ) wins 8-6 vs. Ali (CMR)
Bukina (RUS) wins 4-3 vs. Ferreira (BRA)
Yoshida (JPN) wins 6-0 vs. Arguello (VEN)
Maroulis (USA) wins by fall (5:24) vs. Mattsson (SWE)
Mamashuk (BLR) wins 3-2 vs. Pirozhkova (USA)
Kawai (JPN) wins by tech fall 10-0 vs. Trazhukova (RUS)
Wiebe (CAN) wins 3-0 vs. Marzaliuk (BLR)
Manyurova (KAZ) wins by fall (5:52) vs. Bukina (RUS)
Gold medal matches
53kg: Yoshida (JPN) vs. Maroulis (USA)
63kg: Mamashuk (BLR) vs. Kawai (JPN)
75kg: Wiebe (CAN) vs. Manyurova (KAZ)