American freestyle wrestler Helen Maroulis will look to win her first Olympic gold medal tonight, and she’s got quite the task ahead of her in the bantamweight (53 kg) division.
The opponent, Japan’s Saori Yoshida, is one of the most accomplished wrestlers in history as she’s won three Olympic gold medals and 13 world championships in her illustrious career. Yoshida is part of a Japanese team that has already won gold in all three women’s wrestling competitions that have been completed in Rio (there’s a total of six weight classes for women’s wrestling).
A win by Maroulis, who took gold in the 55 kg division at last year’s world championships (Yoshida won the 53 kg division) would rate among the biggest upsets in Olympic wrestling history.
WATCH LIVE: Helen Maroulis (USA) vs. Saori Yoshida (Japan), women’s bantamweight freestyle gold medal match — 3:45 p.m. Eastern
There are a total of three gold medal wrestling matches on the schedule for Thursday evening, with the 53 kg competition being joined by the women’s freestyle 63 kg (middleweight) and 75 kg (heavyweight) weight classes. There will also be bronze medal matches, including American Elena Pirozhkova looking for bronze in the middleweight division.