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Wrestling at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games:

Women's Lightweight, Freestyle

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): China Agricultural University Gymnasium, Beijing
Date Started: August 16, 2008
Date Finished: August 16, 2008
Format: Single elimination tournament. Competitors losing to the finalists entered repechage tournament for bronze medals.

Gold: JPN Saori Yoshida
Silver: CHN Xu Li
Bronze: CAN Tonya Verbeek
COL Jackeline Rentería

Summary

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.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Saori Yoshida 25 Japan JPN Gold
2 Xu Li 18 China CHN Silver
3T Tonya Verbeek 30 Canada CAN Bronze
3T Jackeline Rentería 22 Colombia COL Bronze
5T Ida-Theres Karlsson-Nerell 25 Sweden SWE
5T Ana Paval 25 Romania ROU
7 Olga Smirnova 29 Kazakhstan KAZ
8 Nataliya Golts 22 Russia RUS
9 Marcie Van Dusen 26 United States USA
10 Ludmila Cristea 22 Moldova MDA
11 Marcia Andrades 25 Venezuela VEN
12 Nataliya Synyshyn 23 Ukraine UKR
13 Yelena Filipova 20 Belarus BLR
14 Marwa Amri 19 Tunisia TUN
15 Yelena Komarova 23 Azerbaijan AZE
16 Naidangiin Otgonjargal 28 Mongolia MGL