One of the few games still present with their roots in the Ancient Olympics, wrestling has comprised women only since the return to Athens in 2004, when they competed in four freestyle classes. Olympic Freestyle Greco-Roman fans from all over the world can buy Olympic Freestyle Greco-Roman tickets online.
Yoshida won gold in the 55kg class and Icho the 63kg, both retained the titles in Beijing and London and are favorites to join discus thrower Al Oerter and long jumper Carl Lewis as the only Olympians to win four successive individual titles in the same event.
The supremacy of their respective events has been almost complete. Ten-time world champion Icho was unbeaten between 2003 and January this year, while Yoshida has won 13 world titles.
Yoshida, who approved her country’s flag at the London sports, will also become the first woman to captain the Japanese team at an Olympics event.
In 2013, United World Wrestling (UWW), after uniting to save the game from Olympic exclusion from Tokyo 2020, took two classes out of the men’s competitions to enlarge the number of women’s gold medals to six.
The Russian grip on the game has in any case been sliding at the last few games in the face of the contest from Iran and Cuba in the Greco-Roman discipline and a string of former Soviet Republics and the United States in freestyle.
American Jordan Burroughs is powerfully favored to retain his freestyle welterweight (74kg) title but the 20-year-old “Russian Tank” Abdulrashid Sadulaev will be also observed to add the middleweight (86kg) gold to his two world titles.
Women do not contest in the Greco-Roman style, which forbids the use of legs to trip challengers and bans holds below the waist.
Iran won three gold’s to Russia’s two in London and bantamweight gold medalist and six-time world champion Hamid Sourian is another of the string of wrestlers expected to defend their titles in Rio.
Hulking Cuban Mijain Lopez exemplifies the upper body strength and technique required by the Greco-Roman style and the 33-year-old will be looking for a third straight gold in the superheavyweight class.
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