(L-R) Adeline Gray and Tamyra Mensah-Stock pose for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympics shoot on Nov. 21, 2019 in West Hollywood, Calif.
Adeline Gray, a 2016 Olympian who won her U.S.-record fifth world championship in 2019, and Tamyra Mensah-Stock, who won her first world title in 2019, have earned the top positions in the United World Wrestling rankings that will play a major role in seeding at next year’s rescheduled Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Also among the top of the rankings is Kyle Snyder, the defending Olympic champion at 97 kg. in men’s freestyle, who is No. 2 behind Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev.
While some of the rankings may still change based on a coming Ranking Series event, the 2020 rankings offer a likely preview for the seeds at the Tokyo Games. Of course, the U.S. wrestlers still need to qualify in order to use them. The Olympic Games have been pushed back to a July 2021 start due to the coronavirus pandemic. Similarly, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for wrestling were originally scheduled for this weekend in Pennsylvania, but that event was postponed, with the dates still to be determined.
Should a seeded U.S. wrestler not qualify for the Tokyo Games, that athlete is removed from the rankings and everyone else moves up.
Gray, the top-ranked wrestler in women’s freestyle at 76 kg., has won the last two world titles. She also won her weight class at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Mensah-Stock, a two-time world medalist, has clinched the top seed for women’s freestyle at 68 kg. She was named the UWW women’s wrestler of the year in 2019. She is seeking to make her first Olympic team; she won her class at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, but did not compete in Rio because the U.S. did not earn a quota in her weight class.
Other ranked Americans in women’s freestyle are Kayla Miracle, who is No. 5 at 62 kg, and Victoria Anthony, who is No. 6 at 50 kg.
On the men’s side, Snyder was the lone U.S. gold medalist in 2016. He’s reached the podium in every world championship or Olympic Games since 2015 and is coming off a world bronze medal in 2019.
Jordan Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic champion and four-time world champion, is ranked No. 4 in the 74 kg. weight class in men’s freestyle.
Two Americans are in the rankings in the 86 kg. weight class: Alex Dieringer at No. 6 and Pat Downey at No. 7.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic and Paralympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.