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Wrestling at the 2012 London Summer Games:

Women's Middleweight, Freestyle

Wrestling at the 2012 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): ExCeL, Newham, London
Date Started: August 8, 2012
Date Finished: August 8, 2012
Format: Single elimination tournament. Competitors losing to the finalists entered repechage tournament for bronze medals.

Gold: JPN Kaori Icho
Silver: CHN Jing Ruixue
Bronze: RUS Lyubov Volosova
MGL Soronzonboldyn Battsetseg

Summary

There was only one favorite in the women's middleweight freestyle wrestling event at the 2012 Summer Olympics: Kaori Icho of Japan. Aside from a forfeit at the 2007 Asian Championships, the Japanese wrestler had won her last 149 matches, held the only two Olympic crowns in the event (2004 and 2008), and was a seven-time World Champion, having won the event in every tournament since 2002, with the exception of the oddly-held 2008 edition and 2009, when she had taken a break from wrestling. No other competitor came close to matching her dominance. She breezed through the tournament to meet Jing Ruixue of China in the final, who had been World Champion in the non-Olympic 67 kg division in 2006 and 2007, runner-up in the middleweight in 2005, and a bronze medalist at the most recent edition. The battle for the crown was almost no contest: Icho had the first round won by the first thirty seconds, having already scored three points on Jing. In the second period, Icho reversed a near-takedown by the leg to score one point and scored another in the final twenty seconds, giving Japan both wrestling medals of the day, following Hitomi Obara's earlier victory in the flyweight division.

The bronze medal matches were somewhat less one-sided. Canadian Martine Dugrenier, thrice World Champion (2008, 2009, and 2010) and thrice runner-up (2005, 2006, 2007) in the 67 kg category, fought in her second Olympics as a middleweight competitor, but had the misfortune of drawing against Icho in the first round. In the battle for the bronze medal she put up a good fight against Soronzonboldyn Battsetseg of Mongolia, the 2010 World Champion in the 59 kg class (also non-Olympic), but was unable to match her opponent's skill or score any points, losing 0-2 and 0-1 and giving Mongolia its first Olympic medal in wrestling since 1980. The battle for the final podium spot was perhaps the most hard fought, pitting Monika Michalik of Poland, twice bronze-medalist at the World Championships (2006 and 2007) and thrice gold medalist at the European Championships (2003 in the 59 kg division, 2005, 2009), against Lyubov Volosova of Russia, three-time World Championship runner-up (2001 in the 56 kg class, 2008, 2009) and once bronze medalist (2010) and twice European Champion (2006 at 56 kg, 2010). The first round went to par terre, where Michalik drew the advantaged position and scored on her opponent. Volosova had her revenge, however, outscoring the Polish wrestler in the second period 3-1 and converting the advantage in a third-round par terre to win the bronze.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Kaori Icho 28 Japan JPN Gold
2 Jing Ruixue 24 China CHN Silver
3T Soronzonboldyn Battsetseg 22 Mongolia MGL Bronze
3T Lyubov Volosova 29 Russia RUS Bronze
5T Monika Michalik 32 Poland POL
5T Martine Dugrenier 33 Canada CAN
7 Yuliya Ostapchuk 22 Ukraine UKR
8 Katerina Vidiaux 25 Cuba CUB
9 Anastasija Grigorjeva 22 Latvia LAT
10 Henna Johansson 21 Sweden SWE
11 Marianna Sastin 29 Hungary HUN
12 Choe Un-Gyong 21 North Korea PRK
13 Aysuluu Tynybekova 19 Kyrgyzstan KGZ
14 Elena Pirozhkova 25 United States USA
15 Yelena Shalygina 25 Kazakhstan KAZ
16 Elif Jale Yeşilırmak 25 Turkey TUR
17 Jacira Mendonca 26 Guinea Bissau GBS
18T Maria Dunn 26 Guam GUM
18T Blessing Oborududu 23 Nigeria NGR
20 Sylvie Tara-Agoue 24 Central African Republic CAF