Gilman, Taylor and Maroulis receive draws for day 4 of Olympic Games
by Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling
Three more U.S. Olympic wrestlers—men’s freestyle wrestlers Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC) at 57 kg, David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC) at 86 kg and women’s freestyler Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./Sunkist Kids) at 57 kg—have received their draws for Olympic Games competition.
Gilman and Taylor will open men’s freestyle action for the United States, while Helen will be the fourth women’s freestyle athlete to represent the U.S. this week. Competition begins Wednesday at 11 a.m. local time (Tuesday at 10 p.m. U.S. ET).
Gilman drew two-time defending World champion and No. 2 seed Zaur Uguev of Russia to open his first Olympic Games. Uguev also won the 57 kg title at the 2020 Individual World Cup.
Gilman is unseeded. The other seeded athlete in Gilman’s half-bracket is No. 3 Suleyman Atli of Turkey, who won silver at the 2019 World Championships. In 2018, Atli took bronze at Worlds.
Competing in the other half-bracket is No. 1 American-born Stevan Micic of Serbia and No. 4 Ravi Kumar from India. Micic, a University of Michigan athlete, has two bronze medals from the European Championships as well as a silver medal at the 2019 European Games. Kumar won bronze at the 2019 World Championships, adding to his World silvers at the Junior and U23 levels.
Gilman represented the U.S. at the 2017 and 2018 World Championships. In his World debut, he secured the silver medal, and in 2018, he advanced to a medal match, but lost for a fifth-place finish. For the World Team spot in 2019, Gilman fell to rising star Daton Fix for a chance to compete in Nur-Sultan. Months later at the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier, Gilman beat out U23 World champion Reineri Andreu Ortega of Cuba to earn a quota spot for the USA. In the Olympic Trials, Gilman secured his spot on the Olympic Team, defeating 2019 Junior World silver medalist Vitali Arujau in the Olympic Trials finals. Originally from Omaha, Neb., Gilman was a 2017 NCAA champion for the University of Iowa.
Taylor will face Ali Shabanau of Belarus in the first round. Shabanau’s most recent medal was bronze at 79 kg from the 2018 World Championships. He also recorded bronze medals at 74 kg in 2013 and 2017 as well as at 70 kg in 2014.
Taylor is unseeded. Competing in his half bracket is No. 2 Deepak Punia of India and No. 3 American-born Myles Amine of San Marino. The 2019 World silver medalist, Punia has collected Cadet and Junior World gold medals. Amine, who competed at the University of Michigan, will be the first Olympic wrestling representative for San Marino, a small country in Europe. Amine finished fifth at the 2019 World Championships to earn the Olympic bid and is a two-time European Championships medalist, including silver in 2020 and bronze in 2021.
Competing in the other half-bracket is returning Olympic champion and top seed Hassan Yazdanicharati of Iran and No. 4 Artur Naifonov of the Russia Olympic Committee. Yazdani won gold in the 2016 Rio Games at 74 kg. After bumping up to 86 kg, he won World titles in 2017 and 2019. Naifonov, who earned bronze at the 2019 Worlds, is also a 2017 Junior World champion and 2018 U23 World silver medalist.
In 2018, Taylor won gold in his first and only World Championships appearance and was named UWW’s Men’s Freestyle Wrestler of the Year. The next spring, Taylor suffered a season-ending injury, which ultimately kept him out of the 2019 Worlds. Taylor’s comeback began in 2020 when he earned gold at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier to qualify the USA for the Tokyo Games. To make the Tokyo squad, he defeated Nittany Lion Wrestling Club teammate Bo Nickal. Taylor hails from St. Paris, Ohio, and competed collegiately at Penn State.
Representing the women’s freestyle squad is returning Olympic champion Maroulis, who will open her tournament against No. 4 seed Ningning Rong from China, a 2018 World champion and 2019 World silver medalist at the Senior level. She also claimed silver at the 2018 U23 World Championships.
Maroulis is unseeded at her weight class. The other seeded athlete in her half bracket is 2016 Olympic champion at 63 kg Risako Kawai from Japan. Since winning her Olympic title, Kawai has won three-consecutive World titles.
Competing in the other half-bracket is No. 2 seed Odunayo Adekuoroye of Nigeria, a 2019 World bronze medalist and three-time World medalist as well as No. 3 seed Russia’s Iryna Kurachkina, a 2019 World bronze medalist.
Maroulis shocked the world in 2016 when she defeated three-time Olympic champion Saori Yoshida in the Olympic finals at 53 kg to become the first American woman to win an Olympic wrestling gold. The next year, she won her second World title in arguably one of the most impressive performances ever in 2017 in Paris. Since then, Maroulis has battled injuries and concussions, but was able to come back in 2020 and qualify the weight class for the USA at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier. She defeated multiple-time World Team member Jenna Burkert for the U.S. team berth. Maroulis is a product of Rockville, Md.
U.S. men’s freestyle first round draw
57 kg – Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)
vs. Zaur Uguev (Russia)
86 kg – David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)
vs. Ali Shabanau (Belarus)
U.S. women’s freestyle first round draw
57 kg – Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./Sunkist Kids)
vs. Ningning Rong (China)
Competition schedule for Wednesday, Aug. 4 (local time in Tokyo)
11 a.m. – Qualification rounds (MFS 57, 86; WFS 57 kg)
11 a.m. – Repechage (GR 67, 87; WFS 62 kg)
6:15 p.m. – Semifinals (MFS 57, 86; WFS 57 kg)
7:30 p.m.- Finals (GR 67, 87; WFS 62 kg)
Competition schedule – U.S. Eastern time zone
August 3, 10 p.m. ET – Qualification rounds (MFS 57, 86; WFS 57 kg)
August 3, 10 p.m. ET – Repechage (GR 67, 87; WFS 62 kg)
August 4, 5:15 a.m. ET – Semifinals (MFS 57, 86; WFS 57 kg)
August 4, 6:30 a.m. ET- Finals (GR 67, 87; WFS 62 kg)
For additional information, visit:
Wednesday, August 4
53 kg – Jacarra Winchester (Colorado Springs, Colo./USOPTC/Titan Mercury WC)
74 kg – Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y./Spartan Combat WC/Titan Mercury WC)
125 kg – Gable Steveson (Apple Valley, Minn./Gopher WC RTC)
Thursday, August 5
50 kg – Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./USOPTC/New York AC)
97 kg – Kyle Snyder (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)