Colorado Springs resident is the first black American wrestler to win gold | Sports

CHIBA, Japan — As Tamyra Mensah-Stock celebrated her Olympic gold medal, she hoped her victory would encourage black girls in the United States to consider wrestling.

When the Colorado Springs resident defeated Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu 4-1 in the women’s 68-kilogram freestyle final on Tuesday, she became the first black American woman to win Olympic gold in wrestling and the second American woman at the total.

“These young women are going to see each other in many ways and they’re going to look up there and go, I can do that,” she said. “I can see myself.”

Helen Maroulis was the first American to win Olympic gold in the sport when she beat Japan’s Saori Yoshida to win the 53kg weight class in 2016.

Black women have had their moments in American women’s wrestling. Toccara Montgomery won gold at the Pan American Games in 2003, Iris Smith won a world title in 2005, and Randi Miller won bronze at the 2008 Olympics.

“They paved the way for me,” Mensah-Stock said.

Oborududu also made history as the first Nigerian – male or female – to win a wrestling medal at the Olympics.

“After struggling to get into the final yesterday, I had a lot of messages, a lot of calls,” Oborududu said. “I locked my phone because I don’t want to receive calls or anything that really bothered me. I turned off my phone so I didn’t have any pressure. I know that I created the record of my country.

Mensah-Stock was proud to have fought against a black African woman for the gold medal. Mensah-Stock’s father is from Ghana, a country in West Africa.

“I’m like, ‘Oh my God, watch us represent,'” Mensah-Stock said. You make history, I make history. We make history. So that meant a lot.

Mensah-Stock, the No. 1 seed, walked through a terrific field. She beat Japanese Sara Dosho, Olympic gold medalist in 2016, 10-0 in the first round.

She beat Chinese Feng Zhao 10-0 in the quarterfinals, then Ukrainian Alla Cherkasova, former world champion, 10-4 in the semifinals.

She finished the dominant run by beating Oborududu, the No. 2 seed and three-time Olympian, in the final.

“Well, you have to beat the best to know you’re the best,” Mensah-Stock said. “And that’s what I keep telling myself. The draw doesn’t matter. You go out there and beat the one in front of you because that’s how you tell someone you were the best. I am the wrong draw.

Cherkasova defeated Dosho in a bronze medal match. The other bronze went to Kyrgyz Meerim Zhumanazarova. She beat the Mongolian Soronzonboldyn Battsetseg, Olympic bronze medalist in 2012.

Tamas Lorincz of Hungary beat Kyrgyzstan Akzhol Makhmudov 2-1 in the men’s Greco-Roman 77kg final.

Lorincz, 34, was the top seed. He was a silver medalist in the 66kg event at the 2012 London Olympics.

Makhmudov, 22, was taking part in his first Olympic Games. He dominated his first three games, outscoring his opponents by a combined 26-3 before reaching the final. The bronze medalists were Japan’s Shohei Yabiku and Azerbaijan’s Rafig Huseynov.

Musa Evloev of the Russian Olympic Committee beat Armenia’s Artur Aleksanyan 5-1 in the Greco-Roman men’s 97kg final.

Evloev was the No. 1 seed and two-time world champion. Aleksanyan, the No. 2 seed, was the 2016 Olympic gold medalist at 98kg and the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist at 96kg. Aleksanyan injured his left leg in his semi-final match and had him heavily saved for the final.

The bronze medalists were Polish Tadeusz Michalik and Iranian Mohammadhadi Saravi.

American Kayla Miracle had high hopes. She opened the day against China’s Jia Long in the women’s 62 kg freestyle category. Long scored a point from passivity, but Miracle took a 2-1 lead on an exhibition seconds before the break. Long scored on a lift with about two minutes left for the breakout point.

Because Long did not reach the final, Miracle was ineligible for the repechage and lost his medal chance.

Robert J. King