Photo: Helen Maroulis after winning the 2017 World Championships in Paris, France. Photo by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com.
LOS ANGELES – Olympic champion and two-time World champion Helen Maroulis will headline the U.S. women’s wrestling team competing against Japan at the Beat the Streets Los Angeles 4th Annual Benefit on October 29.
Maroulis, the first U.S. woman to win the Olympic Games in freestyle wrestling, is paired against Yoshimi Kayama at 57 kg/125 lbs. Kayama, one of Japan’s top representatives at the event, was a Cadet World champion in 2012 and a Junior World silver medalist in 2015. She also owns a silver medal from the 2015 Asian Championships.
To capture her Olympic gold medal, Maroulis defeated one of the all-time greats, three-time Olympic champion and 13-time World champion Saori Yoshida of Japan.
In addition to making history at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Maroulis has set the standard for women’s wrestling across the world. She owns gold medals from the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas, Nev. and the 2017 World Championships in Paris, France. Also on her resume are a World silver medal from 2012 and a World bronze medal from 2014.
Last August, Maroulis put on perhaps the most dominant outing in history by an American at a World Championship event. She secured the 58 kg/127.5 lbs. gold medal by defeating all five of her opponents by technical fall, with a combined match score of 53-0.
Maroulis lays claim to one of the longest international winning streaks by an American wrestler. She won 64-consecutive Senior-level matches from September 2014 to March 2017.
The remaining nine U.S. women booked to wrestle in Los Angeles will be released in the coming days.
The friendly exhibition will feature 10 bouts between the top two women’s wrestling programs in the world. The newly established weight categories, as announced last month by United World Wrestling, will be utilized for the competition.
All proceeds of the 4th Annual Benefit Weekend will be directed to BTSLA’s programming efforts. The nonprofit’s signature program features wrestling events alongside leadership-building activities and personal mentoring in 24 schools and neighborhood training centers. In addition, BTSLA operates a summer Futures Camp and Downtown Los Angeles Wrestling Academy. Over 650 boys and girls annually benefit from these offerings.
For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.btsla.org.
BEAT THE STREETS LOS ANGELES 4TH ANNUAL BENEFIT
At Los Angeles, October 29
3 p.m. – Japan vs. United States at Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
5:30 p.m. – Benefit celebration at Japanese American National Museum
Announced U.S. Roster
57 kg/125 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, New York, N.Y. (Sunkist Kids/NYC RTC)
50 kg/110 lbs. – Kika Kagata
53 kg/116 lbs. – Yuri Yonamine
55 kg/121 lbs. – Andoria Hanako Sawa
57 kg/125 lbs. – Yoshimi Kayama
59 kg/130 lbs. – Kiwa Sakae
62 kg/136 lbs. – Atena Kodama
65 kg/143 lbs. – Miwa Morikawa
68 kg/150 lbs. – Mai Hayakawa
72 kg/158 lbs. – Mei Shindo
76 kg/167 lbs. – Rino Abo
Team Leader and Head Coach – Toshihiro Naritomi
Assistant Coach – Kazuhide Tomida
Assistant Coach – Yayoi Odagaki
About Beat the Streets Los Angeles
Beat the Streets Los Angeles (BTSLA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that cultivates sports-based youth development in underserved neighborhoods throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The only organization in Los Angeles of its kind, Beat the Streets’ mission is to empower and transform the lives of youth through the sport of wrestling.
About USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling is the National Governing Body for the Sport of Wrestling in the United States and, as such, is its representative to the United States Olympic Committee and United World Wrestling, the international wrestling federation. Simply, USA Wrestling is the central organization that coordinates amateur wrestling programs in the nation and works to create interest and participation in these programs. It has over 220,000 members across the nation, boys and girls, men and women of all ages, representing all levels of the sport. Its president is Bruce Baumgartner, and its Executive Director is Rich Bender. More information can be found at TheMat.com