U.S. 48-kg (105-lb.) women’s freestyle wrestler Clarissa Chun battled her way to a bronze medal Wednesday, defeating Ukraine’s Irini Merleni 3–0.
Chun, 30, was five times the Junior National judo champion before settling on wrestling as her Olympic sport of choice. Chun was runner up in the 2004 Olympic trials; she made the reteam in 2006 and took fifth at Beijing.
Her opponent, 30-year-old Irini Merleni, won gold in Athens and bronze in Beijing, beating Chun in that match and relegating her to a placement match, which she lost. This match was Chun’s chance to even the score.
After almost two minutes of stalemate, Chun put on a burst of activity in the closing seconds of the first period, first trying an ankle grab, then a single-leg takedown, then a double leg, before simply grabbing her opponent around the waist and throwing her down for a point to win the period.
In the second period Chun used her judo experience to catch Merlini for a two-point arm throw, sealing the victory.
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