Six American women stamped tickets for the Tokyo Games on Saturday night at the US Olympic Wrestling Trials.
The first to make it official was Tamyra Mensah-Stock (68 kg), who defeated junior high school Kennedy Blades 12-4, 8-1.
Technically it was the second time that Mensah-Stock had won the US Olympic team trials. Five years ago, he won his weight class at Trials, but as the United States had not yet earned a spot in the class, his ticket to Rio was contingent on passing the qualifying tournaments at the last chance. When he didn’t get the required result (top two) in both events, his door to the Rio Olympics closed.
Ahead of Tokyo, Mensah-Stock confirmed that this time it would not have a similar fate. He won the 2019 world title at 68 kg, qualifying his weight class for the Olympics and earning a farewell to the finals at this year’s best of three US trials.
Adeline Gray secured his place on the roster at 76kg to make his second Olympic team.
Gray was originally expected to compete for gold at the 2016 Rio Games, but the Colorado native shockingly lost in the quarter-final round. A few months later, Gray revealed that he was dealing with a shoulder injury at the time. She underwent shoulder surgery in January 2017 and spent the next nine months off the mat during rehabilitation. After missing the 2017 World Cup, he won two consecutive world titles in 2018 and 2019, breaking the record for most world titles won by an American wrestler (male or female).
On Saturday night, Gray did a quick job on his opponent: Kylie Welker, a seventeen year old was too young to compete in the Olympic trials until the postponement of the Games.
Gray won both games for technical superiority (10-0, 11-0).
“Anytime you can score 20 points in under three minutes, it’s a good day,” Gray said in his post-match press conference.
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Helen Maroulis – who in 2016 became the first American woman to win wrestling gold – she also made her second consecutive Olympic team.
In the years following the Rio Games, it didn’t always seem like Maroulis would be able to return to the Olympic stage. In January 2018, he suffered a head injury while fighting in India. He spent much of the next two years dealing with complications from concussion and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as undergoing shoulder surgery. She also briefly retired from the sport before returning to competition in March 2020.
In his post-match press conference tonight, Maroulis revealed another injury: a ripped MCL just two and a half weeks ago.
Helen says her mother drove her for three hours each way to take her from her training base in Penn State to a doctor’s appointment in Maryland, where she was told she would be in a brace for six weeks.
To which Maroulis replied: “I have two and a half weeks”.
True sportsmanship. ❤️
After the match, Helen Maroulis hugged and supported her opponent Jenna Burkert who lost her mother last week.
– #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) April 4, 2021
The complete list of US women’s wrestling for the Tokyo Olympics:
50 kg / 110 lbs: Sarah Hildebrandt
53 kg / 116 lbs: Jacarra Winchester
57 kg / 125 lbs: Helen Maroulis
62 kg / 136 lbs: Kayla miracle
68 kg / 149 lbs: Tamyra Mensah-Stock
76 kg / 167 lbs: Adeline Gray