Mensah-Stock Caps Debut With Women’s Freestyle Gold

By Reuters
August 3, 2021 Updated: August 4, 2021

CHIBA, Japan—World champion Tamyra Mensah-Stock capped her Olympic debut with a gold medal in the women’s freestyle light heavyweight category on Tuesday to become only the second women’s champion from the United States.

Mensah-Stock completed a stunning run in Tokyo by beating Nigerian veteran Blessing Oborududu 4–1 in the final.

The 28-year-old American overpowered Rio 2016 champion Sara Dosho of Japan and Ukraine’s 2018 world champion Alla Cherkasova en route to the final, before coming through her toughest test against 10-times African champion Oborududu.

“It feels amazing, I’m trying not to cry,” Mensah-Stock told reporters. “I want to go hide in a room but people keep pushing me to places.

Wrestling - Freestyle - Women's 68kg - Gold medal match
Tamyra Marianna Mensah-Stock of the United States celebrates after winning gold in women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling final match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at Makuhari Messe Hall A, Chiba, Japan, on Aug. 3, 2021. (Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters)

“It’s a dream come true. I knew from the beginning that I could be an Olympic champion. It was a scary thought but I knew it was achievable.”

Mensah-Stock got on the scoreboard first with a takedown when she spun behind the 32-year-old Oborududu, who reversed immediately to make it 2–1.

The American made another takedown with a leg attack to go 4–1 up into the break, before holding off the Nigerian in the second period, bursting into tears when the buzzer sounded.

Rio 2016 freestyle bantamweight champion Helen Maroulis is the only other American woman to win an Olympic gold in wrestling.

Cherkasova pinned Dosho to take the first bronze medal, while Kyrgyzstan’s Meerim Zhumanazarova won the other bronze.

The Russian Olympic Committee’s world champion Musa Evloev beat Armenia’s defending Olympic champion Artur Aleksanyan in the men’s Greco-Roman heavyweight gold medal bout.

Aleksanyan was exceptional in his par terre defense as Evloev failed to lift him off the mat, but the Armenian lost focus after an infringement, allowing Evloev to score with a massive suplex to win 5–1.

Poland’s Tadeusz Michalik and Iran’s Mohammadhadi Saravi claimed the bronze medals.

‘Means Eeverything’

Tamas Lorincz had to settle for silver at London 2012, but there was no stopping the Hungarian on Tuesday as he edged out Kyrgyzstan’s Akzhol Makhmudov 2–1 in the Greco-Roman welterweight final.

Makhmudov was 0.5 grams over 77kg earlier in the day, but made weight in the nick of time.

It was Lorincz, however, who controlled the bout to become the 17th Hungarian to win Greco-Roman gold. Lorincz’s brother Viktor will fight for the middleweight Greco-Roman gold on Wednesday.

“There’s a reason my brother and I are here in the finals,” said Tamas, who was tackled by his coaches in exuberant celebrations after the buzzer.

“We worked really hard during the pandemic. It’s my last Olympics so this means everything.”

Azerbaijan’s Rafig Huseynov beat Armenia’s Karapet Chalyan 4–1 for the bronze, winning his first Olympic medal at 33.

Japan’s Shohei Yabiku won the other bronze against Iran’s Mohammadali Geraei in emphatic fashion, with a 13–3 victory by technical superiority.