Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Ano Liosia Olympic Hall, Ano Liossia
Date Started: August 22, 2004
Date Finished: August 23, 2004
Format: Round-robin pools, winner of each pool advanced to semi-finals. Runners-up in each pool advanced to classification round for 5/6 places.
Ukraine’s [Iryna Merleni] was World Champion in 2000-01 and 2003 and came in as the heavy favorite. Other medal contenders were German Brigitte Wagner, 2002 World Champion and 2003 European Champion; Tajikistani Lidiya Karamchakova, a five-time European Champion, and twice runner-up at the Worlds; and American Patricia Miranda, runner-up to Merleni at the 2003 Worlds. There were four pools with Merleni and Miranda advancing but Karamchakova lost out in her pool to Merleni, and Wagner was defeated in pool one by Japan’s Chiharu Icho. Merleni crushed Miranda in the semis, 9-0, and advanced to the final against Icho. The final was desperately close, going to overtime, and ending in a 2-2 tie, with Merleni winning the gold medal on officials’ decision. This was the first Olympic gold medal ever awarded in women’s wrestling. Icho would return in 2008 and win silver again. Her sister, Kaori Icho, won a gold medal in middleweight only ½-hour after this event ended.
|3||Patricia Miranda||25||United States||USA||Bronze|
|13||Leopoldina Ross||28||Guinea Bissau||GBS||0||0|