2024 Olympic Games Watch Party

Helen Maroulis Part Of Deep 57 kg Olympic Wrestling 2024 Field

Helen Maroulis Part Of Deep 57 kg Olympic Wrestling 2024 Field

A full preview of the women's freestyle wrestling event in the 57-kilogram weight class at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Jun 4, 2024 by Kyle Klingman

American Helen Maroulis has gold on her mind in a tough weight class this summer, but reaching the podium won't be easy.

Maroulis is in the 57 kg field and fans can watch her compete at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games on August 8-9 on NBC or Peacock. Wrestling takes place at Grand Palais Éphémère in Champ de Mars. FloWrestling will have on-the-ground coverage, and a live watch party during the Olympic wrestling competition.

Here's what to know about the 57 kg field. 

The Olympic Gold Medal Favorite: Tsugumi Sakurai

Japan’s Tsugumi Sakurai is the favorite based on results, but she is hardly a lock to win the Olympic Games. Her teammate, Risako Kawai, won two Olympic gold medals and three World titles in weights ranging from 57 to 63 kg. Sakurai represents the next wave of Japanese superstars, and she already has three World titles by age 22. 

The Japanese star is a control wrestler who doesn’t force scoring opportunities. She is excellent from a two-on-one, likes to keep the match in close quarters, and can dominate without scoring lots of points. She is different than her world-champion teammates Yui Susaki (50 kg) and Akari Fujinami (53 kg) who end matches early. Sakurai will stay patient and frustrate opponents with constant pressure.

Her 2023 World Championship finals against Moldova’s Anastasia Nichita is how Sakurai wrestles. She controlled the tie, maintained position, and eventually scored a second-period takedown off a two-on-one. Sakurai won, 3-2, but gave up a late takedown when she wrestled from space. The best way to defeat Sakurai is to create space or to control the tie. Both are easier said than done. 

China’s Yongxin Feng defeated Sakurai, 4-2, in the finals of the 2024 Asian Championships and provided the playbook for wrestling the three-time World champion. Feng shot off the whistle, scored within 10 seconds, then secured a gut wrench for a 4-0 lead. That forced Sakurai to chase for the remainder of the match, which isn’t her strength. Feng gave up a late takedown when the match was secured.

Watch Sakurai's 2023 World Championship finals match below


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Tsugumi Sakurai At The Worlds

2021 Worlds (55 kg), 20 2022 Worlds (57 kg), 212023 Worlds (57 kg), 22
W - Oleksandra Khomenets (UKR), 10-4W - Evelina Nikolova (BUL), 12-0W - Aurora Russo (ITA), 10-0
W - Roksana Zasina (POL), 3-0W - Alina Akobiia (UKR), 2-2W - Iryna Kurachkina (BLR), 9-2
W - Olga Khoroshavtseva (RUS), 6-2W - Zhala Aliyeva (AZE), 10-0W - Anhelina Lysak (POL), 7-0
W - Nina Hemmer (GER), 10-0W - Helen Maroulis (USA), 3-0W - Helen Maroulis, 6-0

W - Anastasia Nichita (MDA), 3-2

The American: Helen Maroulis 

Helen Maroulis continues to write the record book in the United States. The 32-year-old has competed in 11 Senior World Championships, becoming the first American woman to make three Olympic teams. In 2016, she became the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s freestyle wrestling, and in 2021 was the first to win multiple medals when she secured bronze. 

There’s a good chance she’ll earn her 10th Senior World medal in what will likely be the final competition of her career. 

“Every Olympic quad has been different. Every tournament is different,” Maroulis said after the 2023 World Championships. “Every single (World Championships) is special. For the last two years, it’s almost like I can count the number of tournaments I have left, and that’s so crazy. Basically it’s Worlds, Olympics, and the (Olympic Trials). I’m not doing anything else unless it contributes in some way to that 2024 goal. 

“All these nerves and this weight cut and sitting in a hotel room — you get this three more times. It’s been 25 years that you’ve been doing this. It puts a lot of things into perspective for me.” 

Putting Maroulis’ wrestling career takes more than a numerical evaluation. Winning nine World/Olympic medals, including four gold, is an important piece of her legacy, but her accomplishments transcend wrestling. Winning the 2016 Olympics over 16-time World and Olympic champion Saori Yoshida of Japan catapulted her into superstardom. She became the face of women’s wrestling and her public battles with concussions and PTSD have only added to her fascinating journey. 

On the mat, Maroulis is a cerebral wrestler who excels at match strategy. She may drop a match or two during the season but makes adjustments for the events that matter the most. Her performance at the 2017 World Championships was Maroulis at her best. She outscored five opponents 52-0 using a diverse range of offensive and defensive techniques. 

The Olympic field is competitive, but Maroulis is in the mix to win a third Olympic medal. 

Helen Maroulis At The Worlds And Olympics

2008Worlds51 kg178thWent 1-2 at first Senior World Championships
2011Worlds55 kg195thPinned by Japan's Saori Yoshida in third match
2012Worlds55 kg20SilverPinned by Japan's Saori Yoshida in the finals
2013Worlds55 kg227thTurned 22 on the day of the competition
2014Worlds55 kg22BronzeLost to China's Chiho Hamada, 6-2
2015Worlds55 kg23GoldDefeated Russia's Irina Ologonova in finals, 11-0
2016Olympics53 kg24GoldDefeated Japan's Saori Yoshida in finals, 4-1
2017Worlds58 kg25GoldOutscored five opponents, 52-0
2018Worlds57 kg2721stSuffered concussion
2020Olympics57 kg29BronzeFirst American woman to win multiple Olympic wrestling medals
2021Worlds57 kg30GoldPinned India's Anshu Malik in the finals
2022Worlds57 kg30SilverLost to Japan's Tsugumi Sakurai in the finals, 3-0
2023Worlds57 kg32BronzeTurned 32 on the day of the competition; qualified U.S. for the Olympics

The Canadian Olympian: Hannah Taylor

Hannah Taylor didn’t medal at the 2019, 2022, and 2023 World Championships but won bronze medals at the 2019 and 2021 U23 World Championships. She qualified for the Olympics by winning the Canadian Olympic Trials and reaching the finals of the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier. 

Taylor is a right-leg lead who digs underhooks with her left arm. Her shots are from space with no set-up and she utilizes step-outs to win matches. She’s all about hand-fighting and getting her opponent to the zone. The 26-year-old needs the tournament of her life to medal at the Olympics.  


Growing up on Prince Edward Island, Hannah Taylor dreamed of becoming an Olympian at age six. Learn more about her 20-year journey, including three U SPORT titles at Brock University. 

The Paris Olympic Games Wrestling Contenders 

Moldova’s Anastasia Nichita is at the top of her game after winning the 2022 World Championships at 59 kg and a silver at the 2023 World Championships at 57. Her unorthodox style will be a nightmare for anyone she faces in the bracket. She likes to create chaos and typically comes out on top in scrambles. She also has an air-tight gut wrench to end matches early.

Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye is the tallest wrestler at the weight and presents a unique set of challenges. The 30-year-old has won four Senior-level World medals, including bronze in 2023. Following two previous losses, she had a memorable 13-0 win over Maroulis at the 2021 Poland Open. Adekuoroye was ahead of Nichita 8-2 in the first round at the 2020 Olympics before getting pinned and eliminated from the tournament when Nichita didn’t reach the finals. Nichita won by 10-0 tech in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Worlds. 

Kexin Hong qualified China for the Olympics but that doesn’t necessarily mean she will compete at Paris. Yongxin Feng defeated Sakurai at the Asian Championships so she would be the top contender if she competes. Zhang Qi won the 2023 World Championships and defeated Japan’s Risako Kawai at the Asian Championships. Will she move down and take the spot? China has options. 

Iryna Kurachkina of Belararus won a silver medal at the 2020 Olympics but finished seventh at the 2023 World Championships. She qualified through the European Olympic qualifier. Poland’s Anhelina Lysak was a bronze medalist at the 2022 World Championships and India’s Anshu Malik won silver in 2021. 

2020 Through 2023 Olympic Quad

2020 Olympics2021 Worlds2022 Worlds2023 Worlds
GoldRisako Kawai (JPN)Helen Maroulis (USA)Tsugumi Sakurai (JPN)Tsugumi Sakurai (JPN)
SilverIryna Kurachkina (BLR)Anshu Malik (IND)Helen Maroulis (USA)Anastasia Nichita (MDA)
BronzeHelen Maroulis (USA)Sae Nanjo (JPN)Anhelina Lysak (POL)Odunayo Adekuoroye (NGR)
BronzeEvelina Nikolova (BUL)Davaachimeg Erkhembayaryn (MGL)Alina Akobiia (UKR)Helen Maroulis (USA)
FifthKhongorzul Boldsaikhany (MGL)Veronika Chumikova (RUS)Davaachimeg Erkhembayaryn (MGL)Anhelina Lysak (POL)
FifthValeria Koblova (RUS)Solomiia Vynnyk (UKR)Zhala Aliyeva (AZE)Elvira Kamaloğlu (TUR)

The 2024 Olympic Wrestling Field

These women's freestyle wrestlers qualified their countries for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Gold - Tsugumi Sakurai (JPN)
Silver - Anastasia Nichita (MDA)
Bronze - Helen Maroulis (USA)
Bronze - Odunayo Adekuoroye (NGR)
5th Place - Anhelina Lysak (POL)

Continentals Qualifiers
Pan-Ams - Luisa Valverde (ECU)
Pam-Ams - Hannah Taylor (CAN)
African & Oceania - Rckaela Aquino (GUA)
African & Oceania - Chaimaa Aouissi (ALG)
Euros - Sandra Parszewski (GER)
Euros - Iryna Kurachkina (BLR)
Asians - Kexin Hong (CHN)
Asians - Anshu Malik (IND)

Last Chance World Qualifier
Olga Khoroshavtseva (RUS)
Giullia Oliveria (BRA)
Aurora Russo (ITA)

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