United World Wrestling

Adeline Gray breaks U.S. record with fifth world wrestling title

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U.S. wrestlers have won more than 60 gold medals in the history of the world championships. Adeline Gray is at the top of that list.

Gray earned her American record-breaking fifth world title in Kazakhstan on Thursday, taking the 76kg final 4-2 over Japanese Hiroe Suzuki.

She broke her tie of four world titles with Olympic gold medalists John Smith and Jordan Burroughs and Tricia Saunders, who earned her crowns in the 1990s before women’s wrestling was added to the Olympics in 2004. Burroughs can match Gray later this week.

“I’ve got to mark that off my bucket list,” said Gray, who earned her seventh medal Thursday, six weeks after right hand surgery. “Kristie Davis was a nine-time world medalist, and I’m still chasing that.”

Gray, 28, earned her fourth straight world title and continued an impressive rebound. She had a two-year win streak before being upset in the Rio Olympic quarterfinals, missing the chance to become the first U.S. Olympic women’s wrestling champion.

Though Gray keeps a pyramid with goals — including five-time world champion, Olympic champion and to “be exciting” — she purposely grounds herself with acronyms and conversations with friends to lessen the hype.

“I had a lot of those thoughts before 2016, and I think that let it creep up to me a little bit in a negative way,” Gray said in June. “Just the fact that some people were saying, like, hey, you’ve had a great career. It’s awesome what you’ve done. You’re already written in the history books kind of thing.”

Gray revealed six months after that Rio disappointment that she wrestled in Brazil with a shoulder injury. She underwent surgeries on that shoulder and to repair a torn meniscus in her knee in January 2017 and went 11 months between matches, missing that year’s world championships.

During that break, she married U.S. Army Capt. Damaris Sanders. She scaled 14,000-foot mountains. Gray wasn’t sure about returning. She thought about trying to have a baby instead. Even when she did get back on the mat, she considered phasing out if she started losing matches.

“It took a little bit of figuring out what I wanted and figuring out why I wanted to come back,” she said Wednesday, after reaching the final. “Really, the reason I’ve been sticking around is because coach Terry [Steiner]‘s been whispering in my ear, making sure I know that I’m good enough to be winning at this level. And there’s something more than that. There’s this huge wave of women’s sports, and I’m part of that. It’s something special.”

Earlier Thursday, American Tamyra Mensah-Stock reached Friday’s 68kg final, one year after taking bronze in the division. Mensah-Stock routed Japan’s Olympic champion Sara Dosho 10-1 in the quarterfinals.

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Jacarra Winchester, after foe bites her, wins first wrestling world title

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Jacarra Winchester missed the Rio Olympic wrestling trials after tearing her knee playing soccer. She missed a medal at the 2018 World Championships after a semifinal-winning takedown was reversed.

There was no denying her on Wednesday.

Winchester, who picked up wrestling a decade ago as a high school junior, became the first American to earn a medal at the worlds in Kazakhstan this week. And it was gold.

She came back to beat Japanese Nanami Irie 5-3 in the final of the 55kg division, a weight class that is not on the Olympic program. Winchester must move to 53kg or 57kg next year.

But for now she can celebrate quite a journey. At 26, she’s one of the older wrestlers to become a first-time world champion. She believed she had what it took last year, when a reversed call kept her from the final and she subsequently lost a bronze-medal match.

Winchester, who has problems sleeping, said she replayed the end of that semifinal in her head ever since.

“There’s no reason why I should have gotten beat,” she said Wednesday. “Clearly I have what I need on the mat. I just need to change my mindset. … Just knowing you’re the best, pushing yourself and not letting anything get to me.”

That helped in Tuesday’s semifinals, where Winchester said her Turkish opponent bit her, pulled her hair and twisted her fingers. Winchester, who grew up in the Oakland, Calif., area, said that when she started wrestling she had no Olympic goals.

“I had a mindset of I’m not a quitter,” she said.

Earlier Wednesday, Adeline Gray reached Thursday’s 76kg final, where she will try to become the first American to earn five world titles.

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2019 World Wrestling Championships TV, live stream schedule

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Olympic champions Kyle Snyder and Jordan Burroughs headline the U.S. team at the world wrestling championships next week, with finals sessions airing live every day on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.

NBCSN will also air same-day coverage of the meet in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. All coverage will stream on NBCSports.com for subscribers.

Snyder, a Rio Olympic champion, and Burroughs, a London 2012 gold medalist, each looks to avenge losses at last year’s worlds.

For Snyder, that likely means a third meeting with Russian Tank Abdulrashid Sadulayev in the 97kg division. Snyder beat Sadulayev in the final two years ago, dubbed the Match of the Century between two Olympic champions. Last year, Sadulayev stunningly pinned Snyder in 68 seconds to even their series.

Burroughs earned all four of his world titles in odd years. Last year, he fell to Russian Zaurbek Sidakov in the quarterfinals and went through the repechage for bronze.

Also returning are world champions Adeline Gray (76kg), J’Den Cox (freestyle 92kg) and Kyle Dake (freestyle 79kg).

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Day Time (ET) Network Finals
Sun. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Olympic Channel | STREAM Men GR 55, 63, 72, 82
Mon. 8-10:30 a.m. Olympic Channel | STREAM Men GR 67, 87, 97
. 7-8 p.m.* NBCSN | STREAM
Tues. 8-10:30 a.m. Olympic Channel | STREAM Men GR 60, 77, 130
6-7 p.m.* NBCSN | STREAM
Wed. 8-11 a.m. Olympic Channel | STREAM Women 50, 53, 55, 72
12-1 p.m.* NBCSN | STREAM
Thur. 8-11 a.m. Olympic Channel | STREAM Women 57, 59, 65, 76
12-1 p.m.* NBCSN | STREAM
Fri. 8-11 a.m. Olympic Channel | STREAM Women 62, 68; Men FS 57, 65
Sat. 8-11 a.m. Olympic Channel | STREAM Men FS 70, 74, 92, 125
2:30-3:30 p.m.* NBCSN | STREAM
Sun. 8-11 a.m. Olympic Channel | STREAM Men FS 61, 79, 86, 97
7:30-8:30 p.m.* NBCSN | STREAM

*Tape delay