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Four American women top 2021 UWW point leaders
Photos: (Clockwise from left) Helen Maroulis settled for an Olympic bronze medal, but came back to claim a third World championship title. Tamyra Mensah Stock became USA’s second all-time Olympic gold medalist and added a bronze medal at the Worlds. Sarah Hildebrandt claimed an Olympic bronze and a second World silver medal this past year. Adeline Gray earned an Olympic silver before becoming USA’s first six-time World champion.
By Vinay Siwach
Note: The following is an excerpt from a United World Wrestling release on Dec. 3.
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (December 3) — Just like they dominated the show in Tokyo, Japan and USA highlight the women’s wrestling top rankings.
Four USA wrestlers — World/Olympic medalists Sarah Hildebrandt, Helen Maroulis, Tamyra Mensah-Stock and Adeline Gray — and two Japan wrestlers finished year-end rankings No. 1 while four other top spots went to female freestylers from Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, Kayla Miracle, a silver medalist at the Worlds also earned third-place points and financial earnings for her work the past year.
Like in freestyle and Greco-Roman, top wrestlers in women’s wrestling will be awarded $10,000 while second-placed wrestlers will receive $7,000 and third-placed wrestlers given $3,000.
Earlier, United World Wrestling announced winners of the 10 weights each in freestyle and Greco-Roman.
As promoting women’s wrestling continues to be a priority of UWW, it had announced equal prize money for all wrestlers. A total of $600,000 was announced for 90 wrestlers, 30 from each style, based on a ranking system that honors the most active wrestler throughout the season.
In 2019, nine wrestlers were awarded prize money but UWW’s emphasis on putting athletes first caused them to expand the financial pay-outs to 90 wrestlers and the prize money went from around $200,000 to $600,000. The 2021 prize money combines the amount that was reserved for 2020 but was not distributed due to the impact COVID-19 had on competitions.
As a result of the Olympics and World Championships being held in the same year, UWW Bureau decided to award the medalist at the Olympic Games 20 percent more than the points awarded at the 2021 World Championships. All Tokyo Games gold medalists will get 10 additional points, silver will get 6 additional points and bronze will be awarded 3 additional points.
The following is a look at the American point-winners from the past year:
50kg – 1. Sarah Hildebrandt, USA (82 points) — Three Olympic medalists were featured in the top-three list at 50kg with bronze medalist and 2021 World Championships silver medalist Sarah Hildebrandt (USA) claiming the top spot. With her bronze in Tokyo, the USA wrestler collected 26 points and the silver medal in Oslo added 38 more. The 18 other points for her came from the gold she won at the Pam-Am Championships.
57kg – 1. Helen Maroulis, USA (84 points) — She did not win her second Olympic gold medal but Helen Maroulis (USA) won a bronze medal in Tokyo and won the gold at the World Championships to finish at the top of the ranking at 57kg. She got 26 points for the bronze in Tokyo and followed that with 58 in Oslo.
62kg – 3. Kayla Miracle, USA (56 points) — Kayla Miracle (USA) finished second to Aisluluu Tynybekova in Oslo and her silver medal-winning performance got her 38 points. She also won the Pan-Am Championships before Worlds which had given her 18 points.
68kg – 1. Tamyra Mensah-Stock, USA (123 points) — She was upset at the World Championships but Olympic champion Tamyra Mensah Stock (USA) finished at the top of the rankings at 68kg. She won gold medals at the Matteo Pellicone ranking event for 14 points, gold at the Pan-Am Championships for 18 points and gold at the Olympics Games for 68 points. She managed to finish with a bronze at the World Championships which added 23 more points to her tally taking it to 123 and the top spot.
76kg – 1. Adeline Gray, USA (120 points) — Olympic champion Aline Rotter Focken and World champion Adeline Gray (USA) were involved in a neck-and-neck battle for the top spot at 76kg. Focken began the year with a bronze medal at the European Championships which helped her get 16 points while a month later Adeline Gray won the Pan-Am Championships and collected 18 points. Focken took the lead when she added a gold medal at the Poland Open ranking event for 16 points while Gray did not participate in the event. At the Olympics, Focken and Gray reached the final. The German defeated the six-time World champion Gray in the final to win the gold medal. That gold gave Focken 68 points while Gray received 44 points for the silver medal. Before the World Championships, Focken had 100 points while Gray stood at 62 points. But, Gray won a record-breaking sixth World title to give her the top ranking position for the year.
For the convenience of the fans, here’s a breakdown of how the points are distributed.