Adeline Gray poses on the podium after winning gold in the women's 76 kg category of the 2021 Wrestling World Championships in on Oct. 6, 2021 in Oslo, Norway.
Adeline Gray was a wrestling legend well before Wednesday. Her legacy just grew to even greater heights with her sixth world title.
The two-time Olympian is the first U.S. wrestler ever – man or woman – to accumulate that many world titles, and her latest gold medal brings her collection to nine from both the Olympic Games and world championships.
Hers is the first title won by a U.S. woman at this year’s world championships in Oslo, Norway, but with Olympic bronze medalist Sarah Hildebrandt winning silver and Forrest Molinari bronze on Wednesday, the medal count is now five, and Team USA sits in second place on the leaderboard.
Kayla Miracle (62 kg.) won a silver medal and Jenna Burkert (55 kg.) bronze on Tuesday.
Two-time Olympic medalist Helen Maroulis (57 kg.) will wrestle for gold on Thursday, the final day of women’s events, while world championships rookie Maya Nelson (59 kg.) and Olympic champion Tamyra Mensah-Stock (68 kg.) will battle for bronze.
The 30-year-old Gray, who is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, took on Estonia’s Epp Mäe in the 76 kg. women’s freestyle final, and the match started much differently than it ended.
Mäe got a shot clock point and a takedown as the two headed toward the break and, despite a challenge from the U.S., took a 4-0 lead at the half. It wasn’t until 90 seconds remained in the match that Gray picked up a pair of points to cut the lead in half. She got another on the shot clock, and the comeback was on. A takedown and a trap-arm gut bumped her ahead of Mäe 6-4, and Gray pinned her in the closing seconds for the victory.
Gray won an Olympic silver medal in Tokyo this summer and also has two world championship bronze medals. She’s now won the world title in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2021.
Hildebrandt, a 28-year-old also from Colorado Springs, went into the world championships hoping to challenge for the title after losing her Olympic semifinal match and wrestling for bronze. She got her chance against Japan’s Remina Yoshimoto at 50 kg. and took a 3-0 lead early on. Yoshimoto responded with a takedown, but Hildebrandt led 3-2 at the break. However, Yoshimoto tied it and then took the lead 5-3 on exposure, and that’s how the match ended.
Molinari dominated her 65 kg. match against Maryia Mamashuk of Belarus at 65 kg. After neither scored in the first 90 seconds, Molinari had a pair of takedowns. She was off and running after that. The 26-year-old from Tempe, Arizona, took a 6-0 lead into the break and, although her opponent would pick up a point in the second half, there was little contest as Molinari won 12-1.