With the Olympic qualifiers rapidly approaching, it’s time to take a look at who’s competing and who we think are wrestlers to watch headed into the 2016 Rio games. The Olympics are dramatic and any match can flip on a dime, but here’s our best bet at what American wrestlers could bring home the gold in August.
First, a recap: back in 2013, the International Olympic Committee and what is now known as United World Wrestling overhauled the rules and weight classes of the Olympic games to create a parity between genders and enhance the competition going forward. Now there are 6 weight classes in all three events: Men’s Freestyle, Men’s Greco-Roman, and Women’s. It’s truly anyone’s game now, but we’re counting on these world-class wrestlers at the Rio Games.
In the 74 kg class of Men’s Freestyle, expect Jordan Burroughs, the gold-medalist from 2012, to leave it all on the mat in the quest to repeat his success. While he placed first in last year’s World Championships, it all hasn’t been easy for Burroughs. Injuries and personal responsibilities (he’s a married man and a father now) have shaken up the game, but expect the resilient Burroughs to tear through the competition in August.
After an incredibly successful 2015 (being the youngest world champion ever doesn’t hurt), Kyle Snyder baffled experts when he decided to forgo his Olympic redshirt and wrestle at the collegiate level leading up to the Rio games. Though Snyder, in the 97 kg class of Men’s Freestyle, is taking the road less traveled, he has personal stakes in the collegiate game after letting it first slip away from him at the NCAA finals. That could fuel him to an Olympic gold this year in Rio.
Count on a spectacular showing from Adeline Gray, the very first American woman to win back-to-back World Championships (in 2014 and 2015). Competing in the 75 kg weight class under the new rules, Gray is ferocious and technical on the mat. The gold will be hers to lose when the games begin in just a few months.
We wish the best of luck to all of the amazing athletes wrestling for the United States in the upcoming Olympic games. Who are you looking forward to seeing represent our country at the Olympics? And remember, when you’re chasing your own Olympic dreams, outfit yourself in the best gear from Worldwide Sport Supply.