|Date||18 August 2016|
|Location||Arena Carioca 2, Parque Olímpico da Barra, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro|
|Participants||19 from 19 countries|
|Format||Single elimination tournament. Competitors losing to the finalists entered repechage tournament for bronze medals.|
The most successful wrestler of all time, Japanese superstar Saori Yoshida, entered the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as the three-time Olympic champion and 13-time World champion. Having wrestled her entire senior career at 55 kg, Yoshida chose to drop to 53 kg when the Olympic weights for women changed. She also won World titles at the lower weight following its introduction o the Worlds in 2014.
Also dropping to the lower weight class was American Helen Maroulis, the 2015 World champion at 55 kg. She also won a World silver in 2012 and bronze in 2014, which was the last time she had been beaten. However, she was struggling to make the lower weight the entire year, but never gave up on her plan to stop the Yoshida machine. With the exception of Yoshida, Maroulis had beaten everyone else in the field, and was looking to take down the Japanese star, avenging her loss to her in the 2012 World Championships final, when she was pinned in four minutes.
Also in contention for a medal was a very motivated two-time Olympian (2008, 2012), the 2009 World champion (51 kg) and six-time World medalist Sofia Mattsson of Sweden, who lost to Yoshida in the last two World Championship finals, and had a recent loss to Maroulis.
En-route to the gold medal match Maroulis pinned World No.2 Mattsson in one semi-final, while Yoshida destroyed Betzabeth Argüello of Venezuela in the other.
The titanic showdown had so much on the line with Yoshida, a massive celebrity in Japan, as the reigning World champion at 53 kg; Maroulis was the reigning World champion at 55 kg. More importantly, Maroulis was seeking the first gold medal in women’s wrestling for the USA, while Yoshida was trying to become the second wrestler to ever win four Olympic gold medals, one day after her teammate Kaori Icho became the first.
In the gold medal match, Yoshida scored first, then the younger, stronger, confident and patient Maroulis, who had studied Yoshida for the past four years, scored a takedown on a twisting move, and took a 4-1 lead to capture the gold medal.
Azerbaijan’s Nataliya Sinişin won one bronze beating Argüello. In the other bronze bout, while Mattsson pinned China’s Zhong Xuechun 32 seconds into the match making her the second Swede to earn a bronze medal in Olympic wrestling, after fellow teammate Jenny Fransson took home the nation’s first ever women’s Olympic wrestling medal (69 kg) the day before.
|15||Nguyễn Thị Lụa||VIE||–||0||0||0||5|
Winner of each match advanced to round two. Losers to eventual finalists advanced to repêchage round one.
|Match #1||Saori Yoshida||JPN||Bye|
|Match #2||Nataliya Sinişin||AZE||Bye|
|Match #3||Isabelle Sambou||SEN||Bye|
|Match #4||Nguyễn Thị Lụa||VIE||Bye|
|Match #5||Maria Prevolaraki||GRE||Bye|
|Match #6||Babita Kumari||IND||Bye|
|Match #7||Betzabeth Argüello||VEN||Bye|
|Match #8||Joseph Essombe||CMR||Bye|
|Match #9||Sofia Mattsson||SWE||Bye|
|Match #10||Odunayo Adekuoroye||NGR||Bye|
|Match #11||Katarzyna Krawczyk||POL||Bye|
|Match #12||Erdenechimegiin Sumiya||MGL||Bye|
|Match #13||Bediha Gün||TUR||Bye|
|Match #14||Jong Myong-Suk||PRK||Jillian Gallays||CAN||Great Superiority (11 - 0)|
|Match #15||Helen Maroulis||USA||Yuliya Khavaldzhy||UKR||Technical Superiority (12 - 1)|
|Match #16||Zhong Xuechun||CHN||Nina Hemmer||GER||Decision (6 - 1)|
Winner of each match advanced to quarter-finals. Losers to eventual finalists advanced to repêchage round one.
|Match #1||Saori Yoshida||JPN||Nataliya Sinişin||AZE||Decision by shutout (4 - 0)|
|Match #2||Isabelle Sambou||SEN||Nguyễn Thị Lụa||VIE||Fall (4:27)|
|Match #3||Maria Prevolaraki||GRE||Babita Kumari||IND||Decision (5 - 1)|
|Match #4||Betzabeth Argüello||VEN||Joseph Essombe||CMR||Fall (3:39)|
|Match #5||Sofia Mattsson||SWE||Odunayo Adekuoroye||NGR||Fall (2:42)|
|Match #6||Katarzyna Krawczyk||POL||Erdenechimegiin Sumiya||MGL||Decision (8 - 6)|
|Match #7||Jong Myong-Suk||PRK||Bediha Gün||TUR||Great Superiority (10 - 0)|
|Match #8||Helen Maroulis||USA||Zhong Xuechun||CHN||Great Superiority (10 - 0)|
Winner of each match advanced to semi-finals. Losers to eventual finalists advanced to repêchage round two.
|Match #1||Saori Yoshida||JPN||Isabelle Sambou||SEN||Decision by shutout (9 - 0)|
|Match #2||Betzabeth Argüello||VEN||Maria Prevolaraki||GRE||Decision (6 - 3)|
|Match #3||Sofia Mattsson||SWE||Katarzyna Krawczyk||POL||Decision (10 - 3)|
|Match #4||Helen Maroulis||USA||Jong Myong-Suk||PRK||Decision (7 - 4)|
Winner of each match advanced to final. Losers advanced to repêchage final.
|Match #1||Saori Yoshida||JPN||Betzabeth Argüello||VEN||Decision by shutout (6 - 0)|
|Match #2||Helen Maroulis||USA||Sofia Mattsson||SWE||Fall (5:25)|
Winner of each match advanced to repêchage round two.
|Match #1||Nataliya Sinişin||AZE||Bye|
|Match #2||Zhong Xuechun||CHN||Yuliya Khavaldzhy||UKR||Technical Superiority (11 - 1)|
Winner of each match advanced to repêchage final.
|Match #1||Nataliya Sinişin||AZE||Isabelle Sambou||SEN||Decision by shutout (4 - 0)|
|Match #2||Zhong Xuechun||CHN||Jong Myong-Suk||PRK||Decision (5 - 5)|
|Match #1||Nataliya Sinişin||AZE||Betzabeth Argüello||VEN||Decision (2 - 1)|
|Match #2||Sofia Mattsson||SWE||Zhong Xuechun||CHN||Fall (0:32)|
|Match 1/2||Helen Maroulis||USA||Saori Yoshida||JPN||Decision (4 - 1)|