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Helen Maroulis and USA Women's Team aim to win World Titles
Can She Win A Gold For The US?
After the US Men’s freestyle wrestling team successful run at the wrestling World Championships this past week in Budapest, Hungary, placing second overall behind Russia- with David Taylor, Kyle Dake, and J’den Cox winning Gold, and Jordan Burroughs and Joe Colon winning Bronze medals, attention is now on the women’s portion of the competition.
The U.S.women’s freestyle team had one of their greatest performances in the 2017 World Championships- placing second overall. That team had 3 medalists, including a World Champion – Helen Maroulis. Having tasted such huge success, The USA team is now seeking to win the World Team title- an accomplishment that has only been achieved once in US Women’s history in 1999.
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National Women’s Coach Terry Steiner states, ““We are there. We just have to perform. Last year, as a second-place team, I don’t think we had a great performance. Who’s going to step up and perform on the days of the World Championships? We have a team right now that is capable of that. But we are going to have to do it. We have to get in there and do the things we need to do to be successful”
Team USA (Women’s) is led by 2016 Olympic Champion, and 2 time World Champion (2015 and 2017) Helen Maroulis at 57kg, and 3 time World Champion (2012, 2014, 2015) and Olympian Adeline Gray at 76 kg.
Helen Maroulis is coming back from a serious concussion which occurred earlier in the year on January 10, as she was a headliner for the India Pro Wrestling League- a 2 week, 6 team event that was televised nationally in India (country of 1.3 billion people).
During her first match, against Tunisian Marwa Amri, who she defeated in the 2017 World Championships finals, she remembered a stiff arm to her forehead, proceeded by a collision of foreheads. Maroulis states, “It wasn’t anything crazy…I mean it was hard. I thought I broke my nose.” However, immediately after the match, she began suffering from symptoms of a concussion- she started coughing and breathing hard. She continued the tournament, finishing 1-1, all the while feeling exhausted with no balance. She states, “Something really felt off- couldn’t even tell my body what to do.”
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Upon returning to America, Helen took a week off before getting checked out by a concussion specialist. However, her symptoms continued to plague her- even making talking and eye contact with people excruciating, The doctor prescribed prism-vision correction glasses and noise-canceling headphones just so she would feel better. “The second they turned on the headphones, it felt like immediate relief. I didn’t realize how bad I had messed up my system.”
It was months before Helen could even wrestle again.“It got to this point where I’m like, I don’t care about the wrestling anymore,” she said. “I knew wrestling was always going to end at some point, but I don’t want my life to be like this. I want to be normal. I want to be able to have conversations throughout the day, think the way I used to think and process the way I used to process.” Finally, after intensive rehabilitation work, she was able to return on the mat in early April- 3 months after her injury, doing light practices with teammate and now coach, Clarissa Chun.
Earlier this month, Helen was able to defeat Alex Hendrick in two consecutive matches to qualify for this World Championships- in a match that was supposed to take place in June, but was postponed because of her concussion. All eyes will now be on Helen as she begins her World Championship run this Wednesday, hoping to win her 3rd World Championships.