Olympian Kayla Miracle earned the first U.S. medal of the world wrestling championships, silver in the women’s 62kg freestyle division.
Japan’s Nonoka Ozaki beat Miracle 10-0 by technical fall in Tuesday’s final in Belgrade. Miracle, 26, has now won back-to-back world championships silver medals after losing her opening match at the Tokyo Games.
Ozaki earned her first world title, one month after winning a world junior title.
Miracle competed one month after becoming the last wrestler to make the U.S. team for worlds. On Aug. 12, she came back in the deciding match of what she called a “tough-as-hell” best-of-three series with Jennifer Rogers at a Lancaster, Pennsylvania, high school gym to earn her spot. Miracle was granted a two-month delay of the world championships qualifier due to a knee injury.
“After my knee injury, I couldn’t even get in my stance,” she said Tuesday. “I’ve shown myself that I’m tough, like I can get through a lot of stuff emotionally, physically.”
Earlier Tuesday, American Dominique Parrish made Wednesday’s 53kg final in her senior worlds debut. Parrish, 25, was the No. 7 seed in a field lacking all three Olympic medalists and 2021 World champion Akari Fujinami of Japan, the 18-year-old phenom who withdrew last week due to a foot injury.
Sarah Hildebrandt, the Tokyo Olympic 50kg bronze medalist, lost in the semifinals to Mongolian Dolgorjavyn Otgonjargal 6-2. Hildebrandt will wrestle for bronze, potentially her third career world medal, on Wednesday.
Mallory Velte wrestles for bronze on Wednesday in the non-Olympic 65kg class after a 2-0 defeat to top seed Miwa Morikawa of Japan.
Men’s Greco-Roman competition concluded Tuesday with the U.S. finishing with zero medals.
All of the Olympic gold medalists on the U.S. team — Helen Maroulis, Tamyra Mensah-Stock, Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Snyder and David Taylor — wrestle later this week.
Wrestlers from Belarus and Russia are banned due to the war in Ukraine. Russian wrestlers won the most medals at the 2021 World Championships (18) and were second to the Americans with eight medals at the Tokyo Games.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nbcolympictalk