Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho and the Pursuit of Wrestling Perfection

Saori Yoshida will compete in Olympic wrestling for Japan at her 4th Olympics. Yoshida won gold medals in 55 kg freestyle wrestling in 2004, 2008, and 2012. She has never lost an international competition. In addition to her 3 Olympic golds, she has won every World Championship since 2002, winning 13 titles, and four golds at the Asian Games in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. She has lost only 2 matches since 2002, her last in 2012. Because of new weight classes in Rio, she will compete in the 53 kg class.

Yoshida’s teammate, Kaori Icho, has been almost as dominant as Yoshida. She won gold medals in Olympic wrestling in the 63 kg freestyle class in 2004, 2008, and 2012, and has won 10 World Championships, and the 2006 Asian Games gold medal. Icho was undefeated from 2003-16, but lost a Grand Prix match in January 2016.

Here is what they can achieve with another gold medal in wrestling at Rio.

If They Win Gold in Rio, Saori Yoshida and/or Kaori Icho Will …

  • Become the first Olympic wrestlers, male or female, to win 4 gold medals. With 3 gold medals, they are currently tied with 6 men – Aleksandr Karelin (URS/EUN/RUS), Artur Taymazov (UZB), Aleksandr Medved (URS), Ivar Johansson (SWE), Buvaisa Saytiyev (RUS), and Carl Westergren (SWE).
  • Become the first woman to win 4 Olympic medals in wrestling, although the sport has only been on the Olympic Program since 2004. Wilfried Dietrich (FRG/GER) won 5 Olympic wrestling medals, while 7 men have won 4 wrestling medals.
  • Tie for 7th among Olympic women in any sport, with 4 individual gold medals. They would trail Věra Čáslavská (TCH-GYM), with 7; Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM) and Lidiya Skoblikova (URS-SSK), with 6; and Nadia Comăneci (ROU-SWI), Krisztina Egerszegi (HUN-SWI), and Bonnie Blair (USA-SSK), with 5.
  • Become the first women to win individual gold medals at 4 consecutive Olympic Games. Yoshida and Icho are currently tied among 14 such women.
  • Move to =4th on the list of women winning gold medals at the most consecutive Olympics. The list is led by Birgit Fischer-Schmidt (GDR/GER-CAN), with 6, who won medals in 1980 and 1988-2004. That would have been an all-time Olympic best 7 had East Germany not boycotted the 1984 Olympics. Two women have won gold medals at 5 Olympics – Valentina Vezzali (ITA-FEN), consecutively from 1996-2012; and Elisabeta Oleniuc-Lipă (ROU-ROW) in 1984, and 1992-2004.
  • Become the 4th and/or 5th Olympians to win 4 consecutive individual gold medals in the “same” event. The others are Paul Elvstrøm (DEN-SAI) in one-handed dinghy yachting from 1948-60 (although the 1948 class was slightly different); Al Oerter (USA-ATH) in the discus throw; and Carl Lewis (USA-ATH) in the long jump. Now “same” is in quotes because Yoshida’s class will change slightly in Rio, moving from 55 kg to 53 kg. Spare me that argument. This feat may also be equalled in Rio by Michael Phelps (USA-SWI) in the 100 m butterfly and the 200 m IM (noted by, and with thanx to, reader Brian Carberry).

5K-10K-Marathon Triplers

Here is the list of the 17 Olympians to have run the 5K, 10K, and Marathon at the same Olympics

year name noc
1924 Alexandros Kranis GRE
1932 Lauri "Lasse" Virtanen FIN
1948 Luo Wengao CHN
1952 Emil Zátopek TCH
1960 Allan Lawrence AUS
1964 Ron Clarke AUS
1964 Tony Cook AUS
1964 János Pintér HUN
1968 Rafael Pérez CRC
1968 Mamo Wolde ETH
1968 Naftali Temu KEN
1968 Benjamin Silva-Netto PHI
1968 Mustafa Musa UGA
1976 Lasse Virén FIN
1976 Rodolfo Gómez MEX
1984 Omar Aguilar CHI
1984 Tau John Tokwepota PNG

Jordan Wilimovsky – Open Water and Pool Swimming

Jordan Wilimovsky qualified tonight for the US Olympic Team in 1,500 metre freestyle swimming. Wilimovsky was already on the team, having won the 2015 World Championships in open water swimming. He will likely compete in Rio in both open water swimming and pool swimming, in the 1,500 free. Open water swimming has only been on the Olympic Program since 2008, but this has been done before at the same Olympics, although never by an @TeamUSA swimmer.

This has been accomplished 13 times – 8 times in 2008 and 5 times in 2012. It has been done 8 times by women, and 5 times by men. Of note, Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia won medals in London in both disciplines – winning gold in open water swimming, and a bronze in the 1,500 freestyle. Mellouli had won the 1,500 free gold medal at Beijing in 2008.

year class name noc
2008 Women Melissa Gorman AUS
2008 Women Kristel Köbrich CHI
2008 Women Keri-Anne Payne GBR
2008 Women Cassie Patten GBR
2008 Women Andreina Pinto VEN
2012 Women Cecilia Biagioli ARG
2012 Women Erika Villaecija ESP
2012 Women Éva Risztov HUN
2008 Men Petar Stoychev BUL
2008 Men David Davies GBR
2008 Men Spyros Gianniotis GRE
2012 Men Daniel Fogg GBR
2012 Men Oussama Mellouli TUN

Allyson Felix – The Possibles for Her in Rio

Having made the US Team in the 400, Allyson Felix will compete at her 4th Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Felix is attempting to win the 200-400 metre double, which has only been done previously by Valerie Brisco-Hooks (USA-1984), Michael Johnson (USA-1996), and Marie-José Pérec (FRA-1996). If she qualifies in both events, Felix will likely also run relays for the United States, possibly in both the 4×100 and 4×400, giving her 4 possible chances at medals and gold medals. Here are the possible things she can achieve:

If She Wins One Medal in Rio, Allyson Felix Will …

  • Win her 7th Olympic medal, moving her ahead of Jackie Joyner-Kersee among @TeamUSA women. With 6 medals, Felix and Joyner-Kersee currently have the most medals of any American women in track & field athletics.
  • Move into a tie for 2nd among all women, with 7 Olympic medals in track & field athletics. The current record is 9 by Merlene Ottey (JAM), with 3 women having won 7 medals – Irena Szewinska-Kirszenstein (POL), Shirley Strickland-de la Hunty (AUS), and Veronica Campbell-Brown (JAM).
  • Move into a tie for 5th among all US women in any sport, with 7 Olympic medals. Three US swimmers have won 12 Olympic medals – Dara Torres, Jenny Thompson, and Natalie Coughlin; while Shirley Babashoff stands 4th among US women with 8 Olympic swimming medals.

If She Wins Two Medals in Rio, Allyson Felix Will …

  • Move into 2nd among all women in track & field athletics, with 8 medals, trailing only Merlene Ottey (JAM), who has 9.
  • Move into a tie for 4th among US women in any sport, with 8 Olympic medals. Three US swimmers have won 12 Olympic medals – Dara Torres, Jenny Thompson, and Natalie Coughlin. Felix will tie Shirley Babashoff, who currently stands 4th among US women with 8 Olympic swimming medals.

If She Wins Three Medals in Rio, Allyson Felix Will …

  • Move into a tie for 1st among all women in track & field athletics, with 9 medals, equalling Merlene Ottey (JAM).
  • Move into a tie for 3rd among all track & field athletes, with 9 medals, trailing only Paavo Nurmi (FIN) with 12, and Carl Lewis (USA) with 10. Counting the 1906 Olympics, Felix would also trail Ray Ewry (USA) with 10 (8, not including 1906) and equal Martin Sheridan (USA) with 9 (4, not including 1906).
  • Move into 4th among all US women in any sport, with 9 Olympic medals. Three US swimmers have won 12 Olympic medals – Dara Torres, Jenny Thompson, and Natalie Coughlin. Felix will surpass Shirley Babashoff, who currently stands 4th among US women with 8 Olympic swimming medals. With 9 medals, Felix would move into a tie for 36th among all Olympians, including all sports.

If She Wins Four Medals in Rio, Allyson Felix Will …

  • Move into 1st among all women in track & field athletics, with 10 medals, surpassing Merlene Ottey (JAM), who has 9.
  • Move into a tie for 2nd among all track & field athletes, with 10 medals, trailing only Paavo Nurmi (FIN) with 12, and equalling Carl Lewis (USA) with 10. Counting the 1906 Olympics, Felix would also equal Ray Ewry (USA) with 10 (8, not including 1906).
  • Move into a tie for 7th among all female Olympians, with 10 medals. The record is 18 by Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM), while 4 women have won 12 medals, and Věra Čáslavská (TCH) won 11 medals in gymnastics. Through 2014, 6 women have won exactly 10 Olympic medals. With 10 medals, Felix would move into a tie for 22nd among all Olympians, including all sports.

If She Wins One Gold Medal in Rio, Allyson Felix Will …

  • Win her 5th Olympic gold medal in athletics, which would be the most ever by a woman. With 4 Olympic golds in athletics, Felix currently is tied with Evelyn Ashford (USA), Sanya Richards-Ross (USA), Fanny Blankers-Koen (NED), Betty Cuthbert (AUS), and Bärbel Eckert-Wöckel (GDR).
  • Move into a tie for 5th among all Olympic track & field athletes, with 5 gold medals. Felix would trail Paavo Nurmi (FIN) and Carl Lewis (USA), with 9; Ray Ewry (USA), with 8 (10, including 1906); and Usain Bolt (JAM), with 6, although he may extend that mark in Rio. Felix would tie Ville Ritola (FIN) and Martin Sheridan (USA), who won 5 gold medals, although Sheridan won only 3, not including 1906.
  • Move into a tie for 3rd among US female Olympians, in any sport, with 5 gold medals. The @TeamUSA record is held by Jenny Thompson (SWI), with 8, while Amy Van Dyken (SWI) has won 6, and Bonnie Blair (SSK) has won 5, with Blair winning hers at the Winter Olympics.

If She Wins a Medal in the 200 in Rio, Allyson Felix Will …

  • Become the 9th woman to win 4 or more consecutive medals in the same individual Summer Olympic event. Two women have won 5 consecutive medals in the same event – Valentina Vezzali (ITA) in women’s individual foil fencing, and Ryoko Tamura-Tani (JPN) in women’s lightweight judo; while 7 women have won 4 consecutive medals in the same event at the Summer Olympics. Merlene Ottey (JAM) also won 4 medals in the 200 metres, but they were not consecutive (1980-84, 1992-96). Claudia Pechstein (GER) won 5 consecutive medals in women’s 5,000 metres speedskating (1992-2006) at the Winter Olympics.

If She Wins a Gold Medal in the 4×400 in Rio, Allyson Felix Will …

  • Equal the mark of Evelyn Ashford (USA) and Sanya Richards-Ross (USA), as the only women to win three Olympic gold medals in the same event in track & field athletics, with Ashford doing so in the 4×100 relay and Richards-Ross in the 4×400.

If She Wins Two Gold Medals in Rio, Allyson Felix Will …

  • Move into a tie for 5th among all women, in any sport, with 6 gold medals. The Olympic best is held by Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM) with 9, followed by Birgit Fischer-Schmidt (GDR/GER-CAN) and Jenny Thompson (USA-SWI) with 8, and Věra Čáslavská (TCH) with 7.
  • Move into a tie for 5th among all Olympic track & field athletes, with 6 gold medals. Felix would trail Paavo Nurmi (FIN) and Carl Lewis (USA), with 9; Ray Ewry (USA), with 8 (10, including 1906); and equal Usain Bolt (JAM), with 6, although he may extend that mark in Rio.
  • Move into a tie for 2nd among US female Olympians, in any sport, with 6 gold medals. The @TeamUSA record is held by Jenny Thompson (SWI), with 8, while Felix would tie Amy Van Dyken (SWI), who has won 6.
  • Move into a tie for 5th among all female Olympians, in any sport, with 6 gold medals. Felix would still trail Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM) with 9, Birgit Fischer-Schmidt (GDR/GER-CAN) and Jenny Thompson (USA-SWI) with 8 each, and Věra Čáslavská (TCH-GYM) with 7. Six women have won 6 Olympic gold medals, three in the Winter Games and three in the Summer Games: Marit Bjørgen (NOR-CCS), Lyubov Yegorova (EUN/RUS-CCS), Lidiya Skoblikova (URS-SSK), Valentina Vezzali (ITA-FEN), Kristin Otto (GDR-SWI), and Amy Van Dyken (USA-SWI).

If She Wins Three Gold Medals in Rio, Allyson Felix Will …

  • Move into a tie for 4th among all women, in any sport, with 7 gold medals. The Olympic best is held by Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM) with 9, followed by Birgit Fischer-Schmidt (GDR/GER-CAN) and Jenny Thompson (USA-SWI) with 8, while Felix would tie Věra Čáslavská (TCH) who has 7.
  • Move into a tie for 4th among all Olympic track & field athletes, with 7 gold medals. Felix would trail Paavo Nurmi (FIN) and Carl Lewis (USA), with 9; and Ray Ewry (USA), with 8 (10, including 1906). Usain Bolt (JAM) has 6 gold medals entering Rio and may improve upon that mark.
  • Move into 2nd among US female Olympians, in any sport, with 7 gold medals. The @TeamUSA record is held by Jenny Thompson, who won 8 gold medals in swimming.
  • Move into a tie for 4th among all female Olympians, in any sport, with 7 gold medals. Felix would still trail Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM) with 9, Birgit Fischer-Schmidt (GDR/GER-CAN) and Jenny Thompson (USA-SWI) with 8 each, and equal Věra Čáslavská (TCH-GYM) with 7.
  • Move into a tie for 13th among all Olympians, all sports, with 7 gold medals.

 

200-400-800 Freestyle Triplers

Tomorrow night, Katie Ledecky will certainly qualify to swim the 800 freestyle at the Olympics, after having already qualified in the 200 and 400 freestyle at the USA Swimming Olympic Trials. She will compete in all three of the longer freestyle events available to women at the Olympics, and will be favored in all three, having won all of them at the 2015 World Championships. This has been done before. Ledecky is hoping to match the 1968 feat of Debbie Meyer (USA), who won all three gold medals.

  • 68 women have swum the 200/400/800 freestyles at one Olympic Games. Isabelle Arnoud (BEL) did it twice – 1988 and 1992, while Camille Potec (ROU) did it three times – 2004, 2008, 2012.
  • 4 American women have previously swum the 200/400/800 trifecta at one Olympics – Debbie Meyer (1968), Keena Rothhammer (1972), Shirley Babashoff (1976), and Katie Hoff (2008)
  • 5 women have won medals in all 3 events at one Olympics – Debbie Meyer (USA-1968), Shane Gould (AUS-1972), Shirley Babashoff (USA-1976), Ines Diers (GDR-1980), and Dagmar Hase (GER-1996). And only those 5 women have won medals in all three events, even counting multiple Olympics.
  • Debbie Meyer (USA) won gold medals in all 3 events in 1968. Only Shane Gould (AUS) won 2 gold medals in the three longer freestyles, winning the 200 and 400 free and taking silver in the 800 behind Keena Rothhammer (USA). Ines Diers won gold in the 400 in 1980 and silvers in the other two freestyles. Shirley Babashoff (USA) famously won silvers in all three events in 1976, trailing East German swimmers in each event, who were later proven to have been heavily doped as part of the East German program.

Katie Ledecky in Rio – the Possibilities

Katie Ledecky has won “only” one Olympic gold medal, that in the 2012 800 metre freestyle. However, her performances at the 2014 Pan Pacs (5 golds) and 2015 World Championships (5 golds), and her 11 world record swims over the past 3 years, portend well for what she may achieve in Rio. She will likely swim the 200, 400, and 800 freestyles, and possibly both freestyle relays. She will be heavily favored in the 400 and 800 freestyles, and probably a co-favorite in the 200 free. The USA will likely be favored in the 4×200 freestyle relay, but are longshots to win the 4×100 free relay, as Australia is the team to beat in that event. Here are some of the swimming records that Ledecky could chase in the pool at Rio de Janeiro.

If She Wins 1 Individual Gold Medal in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Become the 6th American woman to win individual swimming gold medals at 2 Olympics, after Martha Norelius (1924/1928), Janet Evans (1988/1992), Brooke Bennett (1996/2000), Natalie Coughlin (2004/2008), and Rebecca Soni (2008/2012).

If She Wins 2 Individual Gold Medals in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Move to =2nd among @TeamUSA female swimmers with 3 individual gold medals, trailing only Janet Evans, who won 4 in 1988-92. Ledecky would become tied with Debbie Meyer (1968) and Brooke Bennett (1996-2000).
  • Move to =6th among all Olympic female swimmers with 3 individual gold medals. The record is 5, held by Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi, while 4 females have won 4 individual Olympic swimming golds – Janet Evans (USA), Kristin Otto (GDR), Inge de Bruijn (NED), and Yana Klochkova (UKR).

If She Wins 3 Gold Medals in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Move to =3rd among USA female swimmers with 4 Olympic gold medals, trailing Jenny Thompson (8), Amy Van Dyken (6), and tieing Janet Evans, Dara Torres, Missy Franklin, and Dana Vollmer.
  • Move to =4th among @TeamUSA Olympians, any sport, with 4 Olympic gold medals, trailing Thompson and Van Dyken, as above, and Bonnie Blair (SSK with  5), and tied with 12 other USA women.
  • Move to =3rd among @TeamUSA Olympians, any sport, with 3 Olympic golds at one Olympics, trailing only swimmers Missy Franklin (2012) and Amy Van Dyken (1996), with 4 each, and tied with 22 other USA women, including 17 swimmers.

If She Wins 3 Individual Gold Medals (200-400-800) in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Move to =7th among all female Olympians (any sport) with the most individual gold medals with 4. The record is 7 by Věra Čáslavská (TCH) in gymnastics, with Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM) and Lidiya Skoblikova (URS-SSK) having won 6 individual golds.
  • Tie Debbie Meyer (1968) and Janet Evans (1988) among US female swimmers with 3 individual gold medals at a single Olympic Games.
  • Tie Janet Evans (SWI) and Pat McCormick (DIV) among summer female US Olympians (any sport) with 4 individual gold medals. Among @TeamUSA Olympians, Ledecky would trail only Bonnie Blair, who won 5 individual gold medals in speed skating at the Winter Olympics.
  • Move to =2nd among all Olympic female swimmers with 4 individual gold medals, trailing only Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi, who has won 5. Four females have won 4 individual Olympic swimming golds – Janet Evans (USA), Kristin Otto (GDR), Inge de Bruijn (NED), and Yana Klochkova (UKR).

If She Wins 4 Gold Medals in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Move to =4th among female Olympic swimmers with 5 gold medals. The record is 8, held by Jenny Thompson (USA), with Kristin Otto (GDR) and Amy Van Dyken (USA) having won 6.
  • Move to =2nd among all female Olympians (any sport) with 4 gold medals at a single Games. The record is 6 by Kristin Otto in 1988, with 9 other women having won 4 golds at one Olympics, including two @TeamUSA swimmers, Amy Van Dyken (1996) and Missy Franklin (2012).

If She Wins 5 Gold Medals in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Trail only Kristin Otto, the only woman to win 6 gold medals at one Olympic Games (swimming-1988). No other woman has won more than 4 at one Games. Ledecky would move to =5th all-time in any sport (=6th performance), also trailing the following men: Michael Phelps (8 in 2008, 6 in 2004), Mark Spitz (7 in 1972), and Vitaly Shcherbo (6 for EUN in gymnastics in 1992).
  • Move to =5th among all female Olympians (any sport) with 6 gold medals. The leaders in this category are Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM) with 9, followed by Birgit Fischer-Schmidt (GDR/GER-CAN) and Jenny Thompson (USA-SWI) with 8, and Věra Čáslavská (TCH-GYM) with 7. Ledecky, with 6, would tie Amy Van Dyken (SWI) for second place among @TeamUSA women.