American Maroulis Defeats Saori Yoshida in 53kg Wrestling to Win Historic Gold

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U.S. wrestler Helen Maroulis won the first gold medal in women's wrestling for her country, defeating Japan's Saori Yoshida in the women's 53kg division final Thursday.

Maroulis, 24, won the bout 4-1 over Yoshida, who was trying to become the second wrestler to ever win four gold medals, one day after her teammate Kaori Icho became the first.

Yoshida is the reigning world champion at 53kg, and has won 13 world championships; Maroulis is the reigning world champion at 55kg.

The medal rounds also featured Elena Pirozhkova, a two-time Olympian for Team USA and a 2012 world champion, wrestling in a bronze medal match in the 63kg division. She was unable to defeat Yekaterina Larionova, of Kazakhstan, losing 4-3 to miss out on bronze.

Maroulis was on a roll early in the tournament, 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.

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.

In the 63kg class, Risako Kawai of Japan shut out Belarus's Maryia Mashuk 6-0 to take gold.

Canada's Erica Elizabeth Wiebe won the women's 75 KG gold medal match 6-0 over Kazakhstan Guzel Manyurova.  

Gold medal matches
53kg: Yoshida (JPN) vs. Maroulis (USA)
63kg: Mamashuk (BLR) vs. Kawai (JPN)
75kg: Wiebe (CAN) vs. Manyurova (KAZ)

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