Helen Maroulis Wins First Gold for US Women in Wrestling


Helen Maroulis claimed the first wrestling gold for the U.S. women on Thursday in the Rio Games. And she did it by beating one of the all-time greats in the sport.

The 24-year-old won in the 53 kg weight class, defeating three-time defending Olympic champion Saori Yoshida, 33, of Japan 4-1.

Maroulis dropped to her knees and started bawling. She covered her mouth with her hand in disbelief. Then she climbed into the stands to embrace coaches and friends. Then she celebrated by running around the mat in a circle and wrapping herself in the American flag. Yoshida wept uncontrollably.

“I’ve dreamed of this my whole life,” Maroulis said. “I put it on this pedestal.”

Maroulis had previously won gold at the 2015 world championships in Las Vegas in the 55 kg division. This was her first time competing in an Olympic Games.

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