In what was perhaps the biggest shock of the night, Jordan Burroughs, the gold medalist of the 2012 Olympics weighing 74 kg, failed to play his third consecutive Olympiad and lost 2-0 to long-time rival Kyle Dake, whom he had repeatedly beaten in competitions.
Maroulis had controlled the 57 kg weight class the year before and after her gold medal in Rio and won world championships in 2015 and 2017 without giving up a point. She was diagnosed with a concussion in early 2018 after being headbutted during a professional game in India. The effects lasted for months, leaving her unsure that she wanted to wrestle again after losing her first match at the 2018 World Cup.
After resting at home in Rockville in 2019, she won the Pan-American qualifier in Ottawa in March 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic fueled the cancellation of the Olympic Trials last spring. Last month in a video conference prior to the test, she said she had fully recovered and added, “My head is good, like 100 percent.”
“I think everything I’ve been through made me stronger and better prepared for it,” she said. “I think being any kind of health fear and just being bedridden and not knowing if I would compete again really set me free to cherish every little moment and take nothing for granted and just really walk through the fire and get out and not only come out alive, but flourish. “
Burkert, who wrestled a week after her mother’s death, pushed Maroulis into the third round. She burst into tears when Maroulis finished her off.
“I thought I had to choose,” said Maroulis of her thought process before the third round. “That’s what I fought for.”
Late on Saturday night, Maroulis announced that she had been wrestling with a torn MCL she suffered last month in the court cases and said she had asked doctors to tell her she must be in braces for six weeks.
“When it popped, I screamed,” she said. “Then I said, ‘Okay, I’ll win the exams.’ I firmly believe that I should form the team. “
Snyder hadn’t lost a match in his last four tournaments before the final on Saturday. At the age of 20 in 2016, he became the youngest American to win Olympic gold in wrestling. At 25 he is older and more experienced. After failing to win gold in the last two World Championships, he switched his training from Columbus, Ohio to State College, Pennsylvania, a change that apparently worked well for him.
He overpowered Moore on Saturday, repeatedly forcing his opponent off the mat and winning the first round 10-0 and the second 5-1.
“I think what makes Kyle Snyder great is that he makes grown men ask the question and ask themselves, ‘Do I want to do this? Am i ready to do what i have to do? ‘”Said Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox, who had preferred to face Snyder in the final until Cox was out of weight on Friday morning. “You question everything you’ve ever done in your career. They question every workout: “Have you done enough? Are you ready for this? ‘ Everything so. “
The most anticipated matchup on Saturday was Burroughs versus Dake, a 2018 and 2019 world champion at 79kg, which is not an Olympic weight. In the past few years, Dake had fallen to 150 pounds several times to wrestle Burroughs in epic battles that Burroughs almost always won. On Saturday Burroughs was 7-1 against Dake.
But this time it was Dake who blocked most of Burroughs’ attempts to score. He won the first round 3-0 and took another 3-0 lead in the second round before holding on as Burroughs made a frantic late run. In the end, Burroughs was on his knees with a shocked expression on his face.
“One run is over for me,” said Burroughs after the game, adding that last year’s chaos left him with no “direction”.
“It will be difficult,” he said because he missed the Olympics. “It’s going to be hard for a long time.”