Saori Yoshida - Womens Wrestling
Born on October 5, 1982 in Tsu, Mie, Japan, Saori Yoshida is a professional woman wrestler who has won multiple gold medals and other awards over the course of her career. In 2012, she will represent her home country of Japan at the Summer Olympic Games in London. A veteran of the Olympics, Yoshida has won medals at the 2004 and the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Most professional athletes you will run across with a decade’s worth of experience under their belt can tell you what it’s like to lose at the highest level. In fact, most would agree that one has to know how to lose in order to learn how to win. This type of conventional wisdom does not apply to Yoshida. She has won every single major event she has ever entered – an unprecedented feat by any athlete in the world, male or female.
Saori Yoshida immediately began to stand out as a wrestler as soon as she entered the sport. She has obviously needing coaching and ample training every step of the way, but if there were ever a definition of someone who was simply a natural at their chosen sport, Yoshida would be it. She made her professional women’s wrestling debut in 2002 via the Asian Games. Although she was a relative unknown, the crowd was smitten with her by the end of the event. She would win gold at that particular event and then in the World Championships that same year in Chalkida.
Entering the World Championships in 2003, Saori was no longer a surprise. Other nations and athletes knew she was coming and knew that she was a true force to be reckoned with. This means one thing in sports language: People are preparing specifically to face and dethrone the best. This did not even slightly impede Yoshida’s dominance. She easily won another gold medal at the New York-based championships in 2003.
For most athletes in sports like wrestling, which do not have a professional league, the Olympic Games are the true pinnacle. With football (soccer), you have the World Cup. With a sport like wrestling, you have the Olympics. So Yoshida cleared out the schedule to train specifically for Athens in 2004. This paid off in a big way, as Saori ran roughshod over the competition and won Olympic Gold. Traveling to Budapest in 2005 to participate in the World Championships, she would repeat these results and punctuate her four-year domination over the sport.
From 2005 to 2011, seven straight years, Yoshida has won the World Championships. No other female wrestler can come close to this mark. In 2006 and 2010, she also won the Asian Games. In between, she made another stop off in Beijing, winning Olympic Gold a second time. The most impressive feat here is that she participated in two huge events in 2008, winning them both.
She was the Olympic flagbearer for Japan at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Games in London. Previously eight Japanese women had served as flagbearers, but none had won gold. She won the gold medal in the 55kg women's freestyle wrestling, her third successive Olympic gold medal in the event, making her the second Japanese woman after Kaori Icho to win three gold medals in wrestling.
There are plenty of extremely talented women’s wrestlers competing in the Olympics this summer, but Saori Yoshida is a tremendous favorite to win her third gold medal at the Games.
- 2002 Asian Games – Gold
- 2002 World Championships – Gold
- 2003 World Championships – Gold
- 2004 Olympic Games – Gold
- 2005 World Championships – Gold
- 2006 World Championships – Gold
- 2006 Asian Games – Gold
- 2007 World Championships – Gold
- 2008 World Championships – Gold
- 2008 Olympic Games – Gold
- 2009 World Championships – Gold
- 2010 Asian Games – Gold
- 2010 World Championships – Gold
- 2011 World Championships – Gold
- 2012 Summer Olympics – Gold