Women’s Freestyle Takeaways From 2024 Olympic Team Camp

USA Wrestling’s women’s freestyle team recently held its final training camp before traveling to Paris for the 2024 Olympics. Here is what we learned. 

Team USA Is Good

The United States qualified all six women’s freestyle weights and three are previous World champions. This year’s team looks promising after the successful 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

2024 US Women’s Freestyle Team
50 kg: Sarah Hildebrandt (30) — 5x World/Olympic medalist
53 kg: Dominique Parrish (27) — 2022 World champion
57 kg: Helen Maroulis (32) — 4x World/Olympic champion
62 kg: Kayla Miracle (28) — 2x World silver medalist
68 kg: Amit Elor (20) — 2x World champion
76 kg: Kennedy Blades (20) — 2021 Junior World champion

Click here for Flo’s behind-the-scenes interviews and content at Olympic Wrestling Team Camp.

Adjustments To Olympic Weigh-in Time

Weigh-ins are typically two hours before the start of competition but that will change to four to five hours at the 2024 Olympics based on weight class. That could benefit those making a significant weight cut. 

“It’s the same for everyone,” said USA Wrestling Women’s National Team Coach Terry Steiner. “We’re used to a two-hour weigh-in but it will be a four-hour weigh-in because it’s the first time ever the weigh-ins will be in the Olympic Village instead of at the competition venue. Because of the distance from the weigh-ins to the venue, they have changed the start time.

“For most of them, they have a four-hour window. For Amit, she’ll weigh in at 7:30 in the morning and her first match isn’t until three in the afternoon. She has a longer window so her day will look a little different.”

Is Helen Retiring After The 2024 Olympics?

Helen Maroulis, 32, has made plenty of history. She’s the first American to win a gold medal in women’s freestyle wrestling, the first to win multiple Olympic wrestling medals, and the first to make three Olympic teams. She also has four World/Olympic titles and nine World/Olympic medals. 

Maroulis said she doesn’t have many weigh-ins left, but will the Paris Olympics be the end of the line for a global superstar?

“There’s a possibility (I’ll wrestle past the Olympics),” Maroulis said. “I treat every Games like it’s my last. It makes me wrestle my heart out. There’s a lot of other stuff I want to do in my life so we’ll see.”

Maroulis also mentioned that her documentary “Helen: Believe” will be released to the public after the Olympics. 

Sarah Hildebrandt Uses Flash Cards

Hildebrandt isn’t leaving anything to chance. She already has five World/Olympic medals, including bronze at the 2020 Olympics, but wants the elusive gold. Her preparation includes flashcards for her opponents so she can study in the sauna. 

“I go over what their lead leg is, what their tie is, what way I want to circle, the moves they would maybe frequent,” Hildebrandt said. “We’ll run through them in the sauna. It keeps it fresh because I want my wrestling to be the star when I’m on the mat and the main thing I’m focused on.”

Situation Drills Create Dream Match-ups

Watching the high-level matches during training camp was a wrestling fan’s dream. Steiner had each Olympian wrestle through possible scenarios that might happen in Paris. 

“Down by three with 30 seconds left,” Steiner might yell. 

It provided situational awareness under duress against a fresh opponent and offered matches you wouldn’t see otherwise since weight classes were obsolete. 

Don’t Forget About The World Team Trials

The World Team Trials are tentatively scheduled for September 13-14 in Omaha, Nebraska, so several wrestlers were preparing for the four remaining World weights (55, 59, 65, and 72). 

No weight has more intrigue than 72 kilograms. Adeline Gray, Yelena Makoyed, Kylie Welker, and Dymond Guilford could drop from 76 to continue their rivalries in the deepest women’s freestyle class. Gray is seeking her seventh World title. 

World champion Jacarra Winchester is expected to compete at 55 or 59, and 2023 World silver medalist Macey Kilty at 65.

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