Rio Olympics: Helen Maroulis becomes first American woman to win wrestling gold

One of the biggest shockers of these Rio Games happened on Thursday. In women's wrestling, 53kg freestyle class, American Helen Louise Maroulis became the first woman to win a wrestling gold medal in United States history.

helenstunsforgold.jpg
Helen Maroulis pulls off a stunner of a gold medal win. USATSI

And if that wasn't enough, she did it in an underdog role, knocking off 13-time world champion Saori Yoshida of Japan.

It's incredible.

Both Yoshida, 33, and Maroulis, 24, wept with gratitude -- both probably equally stunned -- as they accepted their medals on the podium.

After winning, Maroulis hugged her coach, accepted an American flag, then ran into the stands to hug her family. She eventually ran around the arena, carrying the flag and continuing to cry.

Wrestling is not a sport that subjects itself to a litany of upsets, but it can deliver some of the biggest ones in any Olympics.

Yoshida was the three-time reigning Olympic champion in the event. This is Maroulis' first Olympics.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning senior writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his ninth season reporting on college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories