| Event type

Lightweight, Freestyle (≤55 kilograms), Women

Date16 August 2008
LocationZhongguo Nongye Daxue Tiyuguan, Beijing
Participants16 from 16 countries
FormatSingle elimination tournament. Competitors losing to the finalists entered repechage tournament for bronze medals.

Considered the greatest ever female wrestler, the overwhelming favorite was Japan’s Saori Yoshida. Yoshida was the defending gold medalist, and had won the World Championships in 2002-03 and 2005-08. She had only lost one international match, that against American Marcie van Dusen earlier in 2008 at a World Cup meet, which ended Yoshida’s 119-match winning streak. In the semi-finals, Yoshida defeated Canadian Tonya Verbeek, who had lost the 2004 Olympic final to Yoshida. The result was the same as Yoshida crushed Verbeek, 8-0, and went to the final against China’s Xu Li. It was not much of a match as Yoshida threw Xu in 2:43. Van Dusen lost in the quarter-finals to Colombian Jackeline Renteria and was not even eligible for the bronze medal tournament, which was open only to wrestlers who had lost to the finalists. Verbeek and Renteria came through to win the bronze medals.

Yoshida would win her third consecutive Olympic gold in this class in 2012. Between 2002-14, she won 12 consecutive World Championships, and she also won four gold medals at the Asian Games. She retired in early 2014, but there has been some hint that she will return in 2016 to attempt to win a fourth Olympic gold medal.

1Saori YoshidaJPNGold
2Xu LiCHNSilver
=3Tonya VerbeekCANBronze
=3Jackeline RenteríaCOLBronze
=5Ida-Theres NerellSWE
=5Ana Maria PavălROU
7Olga SmirnovaKAZ
8Nataliya GoltsRUS
9Marcie Van DusenUSA
10Ludmila CristeaMDA
11Marcia AndradesVEN
12Nataliya SynyshynUKR
13Alena FilipavaBLR
14Marwa AmriTUN
15Yelena KomarovaAZE
16Naidangiin OtgonjargalMGL

Round One (16 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to quarter-finals. Losers to eventual finalists advanced to repêchage round one.

Match #1 Tonya VerbeekCAN Naidangiin OtgonjargalMGL
Match #2 Ludmila CristeaMDA Marcia AndradesVEN
Match #3 Saori YoshidaJPN Ida-Theres NerellSWE
Match #4 Nataliya GoltsRUS Yelena KomarovaAZE
Match #5 Xu LiCHN Ana Maria PavălROU
Match #6 Olga SmirnovaKAZ Alena FilipavaBLR
Match #7 Marcie Van DusenUSA Nataliya SynyshynUKR
Match #8 Jackeline RenteríaCOL Marwa AmriTUN

Quarter-finals (16 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to semi-finals. Losers to eventual finalists advanced to repêchage round one.

Match #1 Tonya VerbeekCAN Ludmila CristeaMDA
Match #2 Saori YoshidaJPN Nataliya GoltsRUS
Match #3 Xu LiCHN Olga SmirnovaKAZ
Match #4 Jackeline RenteríaCOL Marcie Van DusenUSA

Semi-finals (16 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to final. Losers advanced to repêchage final.

Match #1 Saori YoshidaJPN Tonya VerbeekCAN
Match #2 Xu LiCHN Jackeline RenteríaCOL

Repêchage Round One (16 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to repêchage final.

Match #1 Ida-Theres NerellSWE Nataliya GoltsRUS
Match #2 Ana Maria PavălROU Olga SmirnovaKAZ

Repêchage Final (16 August 2008)

Match #1 Tonya VerbeekCAN Ida-Theres NerellSWE
Match #2 Jackeline RenteríaCOL Ana Maria PavălROU

Final (16 August 2008)

Match 1/2 Saori YoshidaJPN Xu LiCHN