2024 Olympic Games Watch Party

Kennedy Blades Takes Aim At 76 kg Olympic Wrestling 2024 Gold

Kennedy Blades Takes Aim At 76 kg Olympic Wrestling 2024 Gold

A full preview of the women's freestyle wrestling event in the 76-kilogram weight class at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Jun 24, 2024 by Kyle Klingman

Will American Kennedy Blades be the new international star at 76 kg? The 20-year-old made her first Senior-level World team when she knocked off six-time World champion Adeline Gray in the best-of-three finals at the Olympic Trials. 

Fans can watch Blades compete at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games on August 10-11 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 76 kg field. 

The Olympic Gold Medal Favorite: Yuka Kagami

Japan has dominated the world in women’s freestyle wrestling but is missing one thing: an Olympic gold medal at 76 kg. The weights have changed slightly, but Japan has never tasted the top Olympic spot in the heaviest weight class.

Five-time World champion Kyoko Hamaguchi represented Japan three times at the Olympics, winning two bronze medals. A gold by Yuka Kagami would put the finishing touches on an unparalleled wrestling legacy. 

Kagami is the slight favorite based on winning the 2023 World Championships. The 22-year-old is shorter than most of her opponents and has a low-level shot and a double, which she used during her win 4-1 over six-time World champion Adeline Gray in last year’s World semis.

Developing and executing a game plan is Kagami’s greatest strength. She doesn’t score often but doesn’t have to since she is so positionally sound. Kagami didn’t score a takedown until the second period of her World final, which ended by injury default over Kyrgyzstan’s Aiperi Medet Kyzy.  

Yuka Kagami At Senior Worlds

2022 Worlds - Bronze2023 Worlds - Gold
W - Dymond Guilford (USA), 3-0W - Kamilė Gaučaitė (LTU), Fall
W - Francy Rädelt (GER), 2-1W - Huang Yuanyuan (CHN), 6-0
L - Yasemin Adar (TUR), 4-2W - Adeline Gray (USA), 4-1
W - Gulmaral Yerkebayeva (KAZ), 2-1W - Milaimys Marín (CUB), 5-2
W - Génesis Reasco (ECU), 4-0W - Aiperi Medet Kyzy (KGZ), Inj. Def.

Japan At Heavyweight Since 2003

200372 kgWorldsKyoko HamaguchiGold
200472 kgOlympicsKyoko HamaguchiBronze
200572 kgWorldsKyoko HamaguchiSilver
200672 kgWorldsKyoko HamaguchiSilver
200772 kgWorldsKyoko Hamaguchi9th
200872 kgOlympicsKyoko HamaguchiBronze
200872 kgWorldsKyoko HamaguchiBronze
200972 kgWorldsAsuka Sano13th
201072 kgWorldsKyoko HamaguchiBronze
201172 kgWorldsKyoko Hamaguchi13th
201272 kgOlympicsKyoko Hamaguchi11th
201272 kgWorldsHiroe Suzuki11th
201372 kgWorldsHeo Nam-ju9th
201475 kgWorldsHiroe Suzuki7th
201575 kgWorldsChiaki Iijima13th
201675 kgOlympicsRio Watari14th
201775 kgWorldsHiroe SuzukiBronze
201876 kgWorldsHiroe MinagawaBronze
201976 kgWorldsHiroe MinagawaSilver
202076 kgOlympicsHiroe Minagawa5th
202176 kgWorldsYasuha Matsuyuki8th
202276 kgWorldsYuka KagamiBronze
202376 kgWorldsYuka KagamiGold

The American: Kennedy Blades

Blades has international experience, including a 2021 Junior World title, but this is her first Senior-level World Team. Making the 2024 Olympics wasn’t easy. The 76 kg domestic field is deep with a handful of wrestlers capable of winning World and Olympic medals. 

The 20-year-old ran through the mini-tournament with wins over Skylar Grote (11-0), Dymond Guilford (11-1), and Yelena Makoyed (11-0). She downed Gray 11-6 and 8-3 in the best-of-three finals after losing to her in straight matches at 2023 Final X. 

“(Adeline) put a staple on women’s wrestling,” Blades said after the Olympic Trials. “This younger generation looked up to the older generation and now that they are starting to retire we’re catching up. They’re just setting a great example for us. My generation is super excited to keep wrestling.”

No wrestler in the field has offensive tools like Blades. She can shoot from space and score takedowns at will if she stays on her attacks. Opponents will try to slow her down, control the tie, and take the action to the mat. Shorter opponents will look for a snatch single since Blades is so tall. 

The best strategy is age-old: The best defense is a good offense. Blades is tough to beat if she can get to her opponent’s legs and score. 


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Kennedy Blades and Adeline Gray faced off for the first time in the 2023 US Open finals

The Canadian Olympian: Justina Di Stasio

Di Stasio made her first Olympic team but is among Canada’s best wrestlers. She was a 2018 World champion at 72 kg after winning bronze at 75 kg in 2017. The 31-year-old qualified at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier and is among a handful of medal contenders.

The Burnaby, British Columbia, native dropped her bronze medal match at the 2022 World Championships then finished eighth in 2023 with a 2-2 record. Several top names from the 2020 Olympics aren’t in the field so this is an opportunity for Di Stasio to shine during her prime. She has good straight shots and is tough to take down. 


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Justina Di Stasio dominated the Canadian Olympic Trials

The Paris Olympic Games Wrestling Contenders

Picking a favorite at this weight is a flip of the coin. Turkey’s Yasemin Adar has the best credentials but missed the 2023 World Championships. She’s a 2017 and 2022 World champion, 2018 World silver, and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist.  

Adar defeated Kagami, 4-2, at the 2022 World Championships and has key wins over the world’s best. She might be the strongest wrestler in the field, so getting her out of position will be difficult. Adar doesn’t shoot often but is tough to take down and can score when she has to — from neutral and par terre. 

Kyzy has two World medals and was within striking distance of the 2023 World gold but was injured in an exchange against Kagami during a takedown. She eventually defaulted after falling behind 8-0. 

Pan-American countries are well represented with Blades, Di Stasio, Tatiana Renteria (Columbia), Milaimys Marin (Cuba), and Genesis Reasco (Ecuador). Renteria is a 2023 World bronze medalist and Marin is a 2019 U23 World champion. 

Don’t overlook Reasco. She might have the most upside of anyone in the field, and she can win if her confidence is high. Her powerful and explosive shots will be a problem for everyone in the field. She hasn’t medalled at the Worlds yet, but the Olympics is a good time to come through. 

India’s Reetika Reetika is a U23 World champion and Mongolia’s Davaanasan Enkh Amar is a World silver at 72 kg, falling to American’s Amit Elor in the finals. This field has diverse styles so be ready for a grab bag of results. 

2020 Through 2023 Olympic Quad

2020 Olympics2021 Worlds2022 Worlds2023 Worlds
GoldAline Rotter-Focken (GER)Adeline Gray (USA)Yasemin Adar (TUR)Yuka Kagami (JPN)
Silver Adeline Gray (USA)Epp Mäe (EST)Samar Amer (EGY)Aiperi Medet Kyzy (KGZ)
BronzeYasemin Adar (TUR)Samar Amer (EGY)Yuka Kagami (JPN)Tatiana Rentería (COL)
BronzeQian Zhou (CHN)Aiperi Medet Kyzy (KGZ)Epp Mäe (EST)Adeline Gray (USA)
FifthAiperi Medet Kyzy (KGZ)Kiran Bishnoi (IND)Génesis Reasco (ECU)Milaimys Marín (CUB)
FifthHiroe Minagawa (JPN)Anastasiia Osniach (UKR)Justina Di Stasio (CAN)Cătălina Axente (ROU)

The 2024 Olympic Wrestling Field

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

Gold - Yuka Kagami (JPN)
Silver - Aiperi Medet Kyzy (KGZ)
Bronze - Adeline Gray (USA)
Bronze - Tatiana Renteria (COL)
5th Place - Milaimys Marin (CUB)

Continentals Qualifiers
Pan-Ams - Justina Di Stasio (CAN)
Pam-Ams - Genesis Reasco (ECU)
African & Oceania - Zaineb Sghaier (TUN)+
African & Oceania - Hannah Rueben (NGR)
Euros - Yasemin Adar (TUR)
Euros - Bernadett Nagy (HUN)
Asians - Reetika Reetika (IND)
Asians - Juan Wang (CHN)

Last Chance World Qualifier
Catalina Axente (ROU)
Yuliana Yaneva (BUL)
Davaanasan Enkh Amar (MGL)