USA’s five World champs made 2021 even more special in Norway

Updated: October 7, 2021

Photo: These five American wrestlers — clockwise from left, Kyle Dake, Jordan Burroughs, Helen Maroulis, Thomas Gilman and Adeline Gray — all won gold medals by American wrestlers in men’s and women’s freestyle at the 2021 UWW World Championships in Oslo, Norway, where the teams combined to win medals in 14 of 20 weight classes. (Photos by Justin Hoch)

The delayed 2020 Olympics, which took place in Tokyo, in August, will always be special for USA Wrestling, especially in men’s and women’s freestyle where nine of those 11 Olympians earned medals in Japan. The quintet of Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake, Thomas Gilman, Adeline Gray and Helen Maroulis had already won World medals before 2021. But none of that talented group of five U.S. freestylers got what they wanted at the 2020 Olympics, where Burroughs failed to make the American team and the other four settled for medals less than gold.

That’s what made their efforts at the 2021 World Championships, Oct 2-7, in Oslo, Norway, even more impressive as each claimed a World title to lead both the men and women to an impressive World tournament, where 14 of 20 wrestlers earned a medal in freestyle. This was the most-ever combined medals won by the men’s and women’s freestyle teams at the World Championships. The previous high was 10 in 2018 when the men’s team earned seven medals and the women collected three.

WIN Magazine will provide more in-depth notes and features from the 2021 World Championships in its next issue, which will be printed on Oct. 21. That includes Greco-Roman competition where 10 American Greco-Roman wrestlers were set to compete in the upper-body style of wrestling in the final four days of the annual World Championships.

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Burroughs and Gray especially made USA wrestling history in their two days of competition at the Jordal Amfi arena.

Burroughs, who moved up a weight class (79k) after winning four previous World championships (2011, ’13, ’15 and ’17) and a 2012 Olympic gold medal at 74k, joined legendary John Smith as USA’s only six-time World/Olympic champs. Burroughs won all five bouts in Norway, including a 5-1 victory over Iran’s Mohammad Nokhodilarimi in the gold-medal bout.

Gray, who settled for a silver medal in Tokyo, became the first American male or female wrestler to claim six World championships when she rallied from a 4-0 intermission deficit to pin Estonia’s Epp Maee with three seconds left in the 76-kilo gold medal bout. Gray had won UWW titles in 2012, ’14, ’15, ’18 and ’19.

Dake won all four bouts in Olso, including a 7-3 victory over Slovakia’s Tajmuraz Salkazanov in the 74k final, the same weight in which he competed at the 2020 Olympics, where he claimed bronze. The former four-time NCAA champ from Cornell previously won two World titles in 2018 and ’19 at 79k.

Gilman, who earned a World silver medal in 2017, was also forced to deal with a bronze medal performance in Tokyo, where his only loss came in the closing seconds against the eventual champ. The former Hawkeye All-American, who now trains with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club in State College, Pa., scored bonus points in three straight matches in Oslo, before beating Iran’s Alireza Sarlak, 5-3, in the gold medal bout.

Maroulis, the first-ever American woman to claim an Olympic gold medal (in 2016), was coming off a bronze-medal performance in August. At the 2021 Worlds, she pinned India’s Anshu Anshu in the finals for her third World championship. Her other World titles came in 2015 and ’17.

Overall, seven of the ten men’s freestylers won World medals, the same as 2018 and the most since 1987 (8), as Daton Fix (61k), David Taylor (86k) and Kyle Snyder (97k) settled for silver medals, while two-time World champ J’den Cox took home a bronze medal.

Taylor, the 2020 Olympic champ, lost in the Tokyo finals rematch with Iran’s Hassan Yazdanni, while Snyder lost to Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev, who also beat the American Olympic and World champ in the 2020 Games. That recent victory helped give Russia a team championship over the Americans.

In women’s freestyle, seven of the 10 wrestlers left Olso with a medal, the most since the 2003 USA women also won seven. That included silver medals by Sarah Hildebrandt (50k) and Kayla Miracle (62k), and bronze medals by Jenna Burkert (55k), Forrest Molinari (65k) and 2020 Olympic champ Tamyra Mensah Stock, who fell to her hip after taking a shot and was stunningly pinned in her 2021 World semifinal by Japan’s Rin Miyaji at 68 kilos. Japan won eight medals with three golds, giving them another team title, while the United States women claimed second place.

Below is a breakdown of America’s performances in men’s and women’s freestyle.

2021 World Championships

Men’s Freestyle

Top-Five Countries (Gold/Silver/Bronze)  Pts

1. Russia 3/1/4 173
2. United States 3/3/1 168
3. Iran 3/3/1 162
4. Georgia 0/1/2 68
5. Turkey 0/0/2 62


USA’s Men’s Freestyle Results

57k/125.5lb — Thomas Gilman, Gold Medalist

1st round – pinned Abubakar Mutalieva (Russia), 1:23

Quarters – won by TF over Vladimir Egorov (North Macedonia), 11-1 (4:21)

Semis – won by TF over Hort Lehr (Germany), 15-5 (5:27)

Gold – dec. Alireza Sarlak (Iran), 5-3

61k/132lb — Daton Fix, Silver Medalist

Prelim – won by TF over Georgi Vangelov (Bulgaria), 11-0 (6:00)

1st round – won by TF over Arman Eloyan (France), 10-0 (0:57)

Quarters – won by TF over Ravinder Ravinder (India), 10-0 (1:54)

Semis – won by TF over Harutyunyan (Armenia), 10-0 (0:37)

Gold – lost to Abasgadzhi Magomedov (Russia), 4-1

65k/143.5lb – Yianni Diakomihalis, did not place

Prelim – won by TF over Colin Realbuto (Italy), 10-0 (1:20)

1st round – lost to Vazgen Tevanyan (Armenia), 5-1

(eliminated when Tevanyan lost by fall in a quarterfinal to Tulga Tumur Ochir of Mongolia)

70k/154lb — James Green, 7th Place

Prelim — won by TF over Seugnchul Lee (South Korea), 10-0 (3:47)

1st round – won by TF over Shamil Ustaev (Germany), 10-0 (5:23)

Quarters — lost to Turan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 6-5

(Eliminated when Bayramov lost 4-2 in semifinals to Poland’s Maomedmurad Gadzhiev0

74k/163lb – Kyle Dake, Gold Medalist

1st round – won by TF over Vasile Diacon (Moldova), 11-0 (1:13)

Quarters – dec. Fazli Eryilmaz (Turkey), 5-0

Semis – dec. Azamat Nurykau (Belarus), 9-1

Gold – dec. Tajmuraz Salkazanov (Slovakia), 7-3

79k/174lb – Jordan Burroughs, Gold Medalist

Prelim – won by TF over Samuel Barmish (Canada), 10-0 (1:14)

1st round – won by injury default over Bolat Sakayev (Kazakhstan)

Quarters – pinned Radik Valieva (Russia), 9-4

Semis – won dec. Ryuki Yoshida (Japan), 10-1

Gold – dec. Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (Iran), 5-1


86k/189lb – David Taylor, Silver Medalist

1st round – won by TF over Boris Makoev (Slovakia), 11-0 (4:21)

Quarters – pinned Akhmed Aibuev (France), 8-0, 0:29

Semis – pinned Abubaker Abakarov (Azerbaijan), 6-2, 2:34

Gold – lost to Hassan Yazdanni (Iran), 6-2


92k/202lb — J’den Cox, Bronze medalist

Prelim – won by TF over Orgilokh Dagvadorj (Mongolia), 13-2 (3:45)

1st round – won by TF over Simone Iannattoni (Italy), 10-0 (3:51)

Quarters – won by TF over Jeremy Poirer (Canada), 10-0 (3:54)

Semis – lost by fall to Kamran Ghasempour (Iran), 3-3 (3:00)

Bronze – won by TF over Andril Vlasov (Ukraine), 11-0 (5:17)


97k/213.5lb – Kyle Snyder, Silver Medalist

1st round – won by TF over Batzut Ulziisaikhan (Mongolia), 14-4

Quarters – won by TF over Magomedgadgi Nurov (North Macedonia), 11-0 (5:43)

Semis – dec. Mojtaba Goleij (Iran), 3-2

Gold – lost to Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russia), 6-0


125k/265lb— Nick Gwiazdowski, 5th place

1st round – dec. Amarveer Dhesi (Canada), 8-3

Quarters – lost by TF to Amir Zare (Iran), 10-0 (1:54)

Repechage – pinned Dzianis Khramiankou (Belarus), 6-1 (3:00)

Bronze – lost to Taha Akgul (Turkey), 6-4


Women’s Freestyle

Top-Five Countries (Gold/Silver/Bronze)  Pts

1. Japan 4/3/2 196
2. United States 2/2/3 147
3. Mongolia 0/0/4 78
4. Ukraine 0/0/1 73
5. India 0/1/1 67


USA’s Women’s Freestyle Results

50k/110.5lb – Sarah Hildebrandt (Silver Medalist)

1st round – won by TF over O. Kokozei Yashchuk (Ukraine), 10-0 (0:41)

Quarters – won by TF over Lisa Ersel (Germany), 10-0 (1:26)

Semis – won by TF over Nadezhda Sokolova (Russia), 12-1 (5:44)

Gold – lost to Remina Yoshimoto (Japan), 5-3


53k/116.5lb – Amy Fearnside, Did Not Place

1st round – lost to Katarzyna Krawczyk (Poland), 10-0 (3:24)

(eliminated when Krawczyk lost to Akari Fujinami of Japan in the semifinals)


55k/121lb – Jenna Burkert, Bronze Medalist

1st round – lost to Nina Hemmer (Germany), 14-4 (3:46)

Repechage – def. Andreea Ana (Romania), 4-2

Bronze – def. Pinki Pinki (India), 5-2


57k/125.5lb – Helen Maroulis, Gold Medalist

1st round – pinned Jeannie Kessler (Austria), 5-0 (2:33)

Quarters – dec. Veronika Chumikova (Russia), 10-1

Semis – dec. Sae Nanjo (Japan), 6-4

Gold – pinned Anshu Anshu (India), 4-1 (3:49)


59k/130lb — Maya Nelson (5th place)

1st round – def. Ebru Dagbasia (Turkey), 7-0

Quarters – pinned Krystsina Sazykina (Belarus), 8-2

Semis – lost to Akie Hanai (Japan), 4-1

Bronze – lost to Shoovdor Baatarjava (Mongolia), 4-3


62k/135lb — Kayla Miracle, Silver Medalist

1st round – won by TF over Gantuya Enkhbata (Mongolia), 14-4 (1:57)

Quarters – won by TF over Alina Kasabieva (Russia), 13-2 (5:13)

Semis – def. O. Nunes De Oliveira (Brazil), 2-0

Gold – lost to Aisuluu Tynybekova (Kyrgyzstan), 7-0


65k/143.5lb — Forrest Molinari, Bronze Medalist

Prelim – pinned Enkhjin Tuvshinjargala (Mongolia), 5-0 (2:53)

1st round – won by TF over Kudaeva Salikhova (Russia), 10-0 (3:21)

Quarters – def. Koumba Larrouque (France), 3-3 criteria

Semis – lost to Miwa Morikawa (Japan), 6-2

Bronze – won by TF over Maryia Mamashuk (Belarus), 12-1


68k/149lb – Tamyra Mensah Stock, Bronze Medalist

Quarters – def. Anastasiia Lavrenchuk (Ukraine), 8-0

Semis – lost by fall to Rin Miyaji (Japan), 3-0 (0:21)

Bronze – def. Adela Hanzlickova (Czech Republic), 10-1


72k/158lb — Kylie Welker, Did Not Place

1st round – lost to Buse Cavusoglu Tosun (Turkey), 8-1

(eliminated when Tosun lost to Zhamila Bakbergenova of Kazakhstan in the semis)


76k/167lb — Adeline Gray, Gold Medalist

1st round – pinned Ausegul Osbege (Turkey), 4-0 (1:16)

Quarters – pinned Kiran Kiran (India), 5-0 (2:34)

Semis – won by TF over Samar Hamza (Egypt), 11-1

Gold – pinned Epp Maee (Estonia), 6-4 (5:57)