Japanese wrestler Saori Yoshida announced her retirement via Twitter on Tuesday. The three-time Olympic gold medalist and 13-time world champion retires as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
Yoshida made her senior debut in 2002 and went on to win her first 119 international matches (a win streak that lasted until January 2008). She made her Olympic debut at the 2004 Athens Olympics, the first Games at which women’s wrestling was contested, and claimed one of the inaugural women’s gold medals in the sport. After losing her first international match in January 2008, Yoshida rebounded by successfully defending her Olympic title at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Yoshida was selected as Japan’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics and she went on to win a third-straight Olympic gold medal at those Games. A few weeks later at the 2012 World Championships, she broke the record for most consecutive world or Olympic titles by claiming her 13th-straight (the previous record of 12 had been held by Russian legend Aleksandr Karelin). With three more world titles in 2013, 2014, and 2015, she entered the 2016 Rio Olympics having won 16-straight world or Olympic titles.
But in Rio, Yoshida was denied a fourth Olympic title by American Helen Maroulis, who defeated the Japanese great to become the first-ever American to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s wrestling. It marked Yoshida’s third loss in international competition — and first at a major event.
Yoshida started wrestling at the age of three under the guidance of her father, Eikatsu, a former Japanese national champion who built a dojo in the family’s home to introduce Yoshida and her two older brothers to the sport. Eikatsu went on to become Yoshida’s longtime personal coach, in addition to serving as a coach for the Japanese national women’s team. Eikastu died in 2014 after suffering a brain hemorrhage. Less than a week later, Yoshida helped the Japanese team win gold at the World Cup.
Yoshida has not competed since claiming silver at the 2016 Rio Games. The 36-year-old says she plans to pursue a career as an actor/TV personality.
The International Olympic Committee plans to donate €500,000 ($562,000) to the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in the 2024 Olympic host city.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that he wants to see Notre Dame restored within five years.
“The aim of completing the reconstruction in time for Paris 2024 will be an extra motivation for all of us,” IOC president Thomas Bach wrote in a Wednesday letter to Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet, according to a translation by Agence France-Presse, which reported Notre Dame is on the planned marathon and road cycling routes. “All the Olympic Movement and in particular the IOC have been extremely touched by the instantaneous connection the French have made between Notre Dame cathedral and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”
More than $500 million has been pledged overall from around the globe after a fire ravaged the 850-year-old cathedral on Monday.
NBC News has more on the Notre Dame fire here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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NHL All-Stars Jack Eichel, Ryan Suter and Cory Schneider join previously named captain Patrick Kane to lead the U.S. at next month’s world hockey championship in Slovakia, seeking the nation’s first title at a standalone worlds since 1933.
Sixteen players were added to the roster in Thursday’s announcement with more to come before worlds open May 10 and more teams get eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, making more players available. The IIHF allows up to 25 players per nation.
Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill will be the U.S. head coach for a third straight worlds. The Americans lost in the quarterfinals in 2017 and earned bronze in 2018, sandwiching an Olympic quarterfinal exit in PyeongChang without NHL players.
Sweden is trying to become the first nation to three-peat at worlds since the Czech Republic in 2001.
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Preliminary IIHF World Championship Roster
Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks)
Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres)
Luke Glendening (Detroit Red Wings)
Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes)
Chris Kreider (New York Rangers)
Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings)
James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia Flyers)
Frank Vatrano (Florida Panthers)
Colin White (Ottawa Senators)
Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks)
Alec Martinez (Los Angeles Kings)
Brady Skjei (New York Rangers)
Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild)
Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks)
Cayden Primeau (Laval (AHL))
Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils)