Helen Maroulis Paves The Way For Future Female Wrestlers

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My hand being raised in victory at the Boca Duals, after I defeated Atlantic’s 106 wrestler.

Haley Hinkofer, Staff Writer

The Rio de Janeiro Olympic games were filled with history and memorable moments. One athlete in particular stood out among the crowd. Helen Maroulis made USA wrestling history by becoming the first female wrestler to win a gold medal in the Olympics.

Maroulis has been wrestling since she was seven years old, and got into the sport when her brother needed someone to practice the moves on. From that moment on she has been hooked on the sport, and has been dominating the field.

In this year’s Olympics, all eyes were on Maroulis while she was wrestling in the gold medal match against the three time reigning Olympic gold medalist Saori Yoshida. Yoshida is from Japan and the most decorated athlete in freestyle wrestling history. Both women were wrestling in the 53 kg (116.5 lbs) weight class, which they had to cut weight for since they were originally use to wresting at 55 kg (121.3 lbs) but this weight class isn’t included in the Olympics. In this match, the underdog Maroulis came out on top.

While watching the match at my house, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, shouting at the TV as if I was in Maroulis’ corner. Wrestling has been a huge part of my life for the last two years, ever since I’ve been on the varsity wrestling team at Santaluces. Being a female wrestler, I know the struggles of having to cut weight, follow a strict meal plan, and face being shrugged off by other male wrestlers just because I’m a female. There’s a lot of hard work and dedication that every wrestler has to endure to be able to set out on the mat.

In the world of wrestling, males have dominated the sport. Wrestlers such as Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake, and Gabe Dean are just some of the names and faces that pop into people’s mind when wrestling is brought up. Now, that is starting to change. Since Helen Maroulis was the first female to win gold in USA wrestling history, the media has finally started to showcase women’s wrestling the way it should have always been showcased.

In wrestling, technique is everything. There have been many times when I’ve stepped out on the mat, knowing my opponent is stronger than me, but I’ve come out on top because my technique was better than theirs. During that match for the gold medal, Maroulis’ technique was flawless. I’ll spend hours watching videos of her wrestle and then go to practice the next day to try to mimic what she did in a specific match. Maroulis is one of my biggest role models and she motivates me each day to always keep chasing after my goals no matter what gets in my way.

 

 

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