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American Adeline Gray earns a spot in gold medal match at 76kg

Semifinal WF 76kg Adeline Gray (USA)

American Adeline Gray celebrates after his semifinal freestyle win at the Olympic Games Sunday. (Tony Rotundo photo courtesy United World Wrestling)

Five-time world champion Adeline Gray can add a new achievement to her Hall of Fame worthy resume – Olympic medalist.

Gray pounded her way into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medal finals with a tight 3-2 victory over Aiperi Medet Kyzy of Kyrgyzstan on Sunday. Gray will face 2014 world champion Aline Rotter Focken of Germany in Monday’s gold medal match at 76 kilograms (167 pounds).

The gold medal finals will be held Monday night at 7:30 p.m. in Japan. This is 13 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone, so her finals bout will be 6:30 a.m. Monday morning in Connecticut on NBC’s Olympic Channel.

In the semifinals, Gray (Colorado Springs, Colo.) received the first point of the match when Kyzy was put on the shot clock for passivity and could not score in the required 30 seconds. Gray scored a second point when she got behind Kyzy and forced a step out to take a 2-0 lead to the break.

In the second period, there was an active scramble on the edge which ended up being waved off with no points. The Kyrgyzstan corner challenged, and after a review, the challenge was denied, giving Gray another point for a 3-0 lead. Kyzy scored a takedown to close it to 3-2 but was unable to turn Gray with an ankle lace. Gray closed out the final 15 seconds on her feet and waved to the stands when time ran out.

Rotter Focken won the other semifinals with a 3-1 decision over Hiroe Minagawa of Japan. With her victory, Rotter Focken becomes Germany’s first women’s freestyle Olympic medalist.

Gray won two bouts in the morning session to reach the semifinals, pinning Zaineb Sghaier of Tunisia in 2:11, then stopping 2017 world champion Yasemin Adar of Turkey, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

This is Gray’s second Olympic appearance, after placing seventh at the 2016 Olympic Games. Gray has captured world titles in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019, and also boasts two world championship bronze medals. She is a native of Denver, Colo., and lives in Colorado Springs, Colo.

By making the finals, Gray becomes the sixth U.S. wrestler to earn an Olympic medal in women’s freestyle since the sport joined the Olympic program in 2004. The only U.S. woman wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal was Helen Maroulis in 2016.

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In Greco-Roman, U.S. wrestler Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo.) remains alive in a quest for a bronze medal. He was pulled back into Monday’s repechage round at 60 kilograms (132 pounds), after the athlete who beat him on Sunday morning, Luis Orta Sanchez of Cuba, earned a spot in the gold-medal finals. Only wrestlers who lose to a finalist are eligible for repechage.

Hafizov will face 2018 world champion Sergey Emelin of Russia in the repechage round on Monday morning. If Hafizov beats Emelin, he would face Ciobanu in a bronze-medal match.  The repechage round will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday morning in Japan or 10 p.m. on Sunday night here on the East Coast.

NBC’s Olympic wrestling telecast schedule

2020 Olympic Games
At Toyko
Sunday’s results
U.S. women’s freestyle results
76 kg – Adeline Gray (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
WIN Zaineb Sghaier (Tunisia), pin 2:11
WIN Yasemin Adar (Turkey), 6-4
WIN Aiperi Medet Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan), 3-2
Gold medal final: vs. Aline Rotter Focken (Germany)

U.S. Greco-Roman results
60 kg – Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo)
LOSS Luis Orta Sanchez (Cuba), 5-0
Repechage – vs. Sergey Emelin (Russia)

Content for this story was provided by USA Wrestling

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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