Adeline Gray at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Aug. 2, 2021 in Chiba, Japan.
Already a five-time world wrestling champion, the accomplished Adeline Gray had been waiting a long time to add an Olympic medal to her impressive array of hardware, but it wasn’t the color she was looking for.
In the women’s 76 kg. gold-medal match at Makuhari Messe Hall, Gray dropped a 7-3 decision to Aline Rotter-Focken of Germany after falling behind 7-0 early in the second period. Rotter-Focken picked up six of those points on counterattacks.
“You don’t come to lose, but I came out here to fight,” said Gray, “and I gave it my all, and I took some shots, and I went in there and battled, and she threw me off my game and, unfortunately, I didn’t come out on top.
“I still am coming home with a silver medal from the Olympics, and I am just so thrilled for that.”
Rotter-Focken, 30, had previously announced her intention to retire after these Games. She becomes the first Olympic women’s wrestling champion from Germany. She also has a world championship to her credit, having won the women’s freestyle 69 kg. class in 2014.
A 30-year-old Denver resident, Gray had reached the championship final by defeating Aiperi Medet Kyzy of Kyrgyzstan in the semifinals, 3-2. In previous final round victories, Gray outpointed Turkey’s Yasemin Adar, 6-4, and downed Zaineb Sghaier of Tunisia by fall.
Graceful in defeat, Gray said she’s pleased with the state of women’s wrestling and takes her role as a role model for young girls quite seriously.
“I didn’t dream big enough,” Gray said. “I didn’t know I could be a professional athlete in my 30s. I didn’t know that I could have a husband and a career and be able to balance those two things at this stage. I really held myself back at a young age because I didn’t know these things were possible.