USA wrestlers to push Russian men, Japan women for Gold

HIGHLIGHTS FROM RIO:

MEN:

Freestyle

Russia earned two gold medals in freestyle — Soslan Ramonov at 65 kilograms and Abdulrashid Sadulaev at 86 kg. Russia’s Aniuar Geduev was a silver medalist at 74 kg. Kyle Snyder of the United States won the 97 kg class at age 20 to become the youngest American to win Olympic gold.

Greco-Roman

Russia’s Roman Vlasov won at 75 kg and Davit Chakvetadze won at 85. Cuba won two golds — Ismael Borrero at 59 kg and Mijain Lopez at 130.

WOMEN:

Freestyle

Japan won four of the six weight classes: Eri Tosaka at 48 kilograms, Kaori Icho at 58, Risako Kawai at 63 and Sara Dosho at 69. Icho’s gold was her fourth. American Helen Maroulis pulled one of the upsets of the tournament beating three-time gold medalist Saori Yoshida of Japan in the 53 kg final to claim the first gold medal for a U.S. woman.

TOKYO EXPECTATIONS:

MEN

Freestyle

All five U.S. qualifiers have a legitimate chance to medal. Snyder seeks his second gold. Kyle Dake beat 2012 gold medalist Jordan Burroughs at the Olympic Trials to earn the 74 kg spot. Americans David Taylor, Thomas Gilman and Gable Steveson all should be in the mix. The Russia team was strong at the 2016 Games and won the world team title in 2019. Russia has qualifiers in all six classes. Sadulaev is Russia’s biggest threat. He is the No. 1 seed at 97 kg, while Snyder is No. 2.

Greco-Roman

American Ildar Hafizov is a favorite to win gold at 60 kg. He’s No. 1 in the United World Wrestling rankings. He’d be the first U.S. wrestler to win gold in Greco-Roman since Rulon Gardner in 2000 and the first to medal since 2008. He represented Uzbekistan at the 2008 Games but began competing for the United States in 2015. Four Americans qualified in Greco-Roman. Russia won the team title at worlds in 2019 and has five qualifiers. Cuba is the only nation with qualifiers in all six classes and has returning Olympic gold medalists in Borrero and Lopez.

WOMEN

Freestyle

Japan won the team title at worlds in 2019. Though the Japanese team again should again be a force, the United States has been gaining ground. Japan has a talented sister combination in Risako and Yukako Kawai. Risako won gold in Rio at 63 kg and was the 2019 world champion at 57, the class she will compete in at the Games. Yukako was a bronze medalist at worlds in 2019 at 62 kg, her Olympic class. Japan’s Sara Dosho won gold in Rio at 69 kg and will compete at 68 kg in Tokyo. But the United States has a returning gold medalist in Maroulis and three 2019 world champions in Adeline Gray, Jacarra Winchester and Tamyra Mensah-Stock. Japan, China, Japan, Mongolia, Russia and the United States have wrestlers in all six classes.

ATHLETES TO WATCH:

MEN

Freestyle

Russia’s Sadulaev was the 2019 world champion at 97 kg, his new Olympic class. Turkey’s Taha Akgul looks to repeat as gold medalist in 125 kg. Georgia’s Geno Petriashvili beat him to win the world title in 2019 and is the No. 1 seed. Steveson, an American NCAA champion who will compete in the class, is just 21 years old. Iran’s Hassan Yazdani took the gold at 74 kg in 2016 and has moved up to 86 kg. He’s a two-time world champ and is the No. 1 seed. America’s Taylor was injured in 2019 but is healthy again. He beat Yazdani en route to winning worlds at 86 kg in 2018. Italy’s Frank Chamizo earned bronze in Rio and is the No. 1 seed at 74 kg. He may have to deal with Dake to get gold.

Greco-Roman

Ildar Hafizov could win gold for the United States. Borrero, the gold medalist in Rio at 59 kg, was world champion at 67 kg in 2019 – his new Olympic class. Aleksanyan was the gold medalist in Rio at 98 kg and was a bronze medalist in London. He’ll wrestle at 97 kg in Tokyo. Cuba’s 38-year-old Lopez seeks his fourth gold medal. He’ll compete at 125 kg.

WOMEN:

Freestyle

Maroulis will go for another gold at 57 kg. The two-time world champ suffered severe damage from a concussion in 2018 and was limited before bouncing back to win at the Olympic Trials. Japan’s Risako Kawai will be in her path. Canada’s Erica Wiebe, a gold medalist in 2016, will try to win another at 76 kg. Gray, a five-time world champion, is the No. 1 seed at 76. American Jacarra Winchester should be a threat at 53 kg. American Mensah-Stock is the No. 1 seed at 68 kg.

GOLD MEDAL MOMENT:

MEN:

Freestyle

Aug. 6: 74 kg; Aug. 6: 125 kg; Aug. 7: 97 kg.

Greco-Roman

Aug. 2: 60 kg.

WOMEN:

Freestyle

Aug. 2: 76 kg; Aug. 3: 68 kg; Aug. 5: 57 kg.

Copyright © 2021 . All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Comments

Sign up for breaking news alerts