3 Women listed on NBC olympics top 10 wrestlers

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    Chad Moechnig
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    KnockOut2
    Post subject: 3 Women listed on NBColympics top 10 wrestlersPostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2004 3:07 pm

    Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 6:19 pm
    Posts: 439
    Location: Louisville, KYJessica Gow/Getty Images

    Melnik (left) is a three-time world champion.
    Irina Melnik (UKR)
    Women’s freestyle 48kg (105.5 lbs)
    Image
    Though only 4-foot-11, Melnik is a three-time world champion. She won her first world crown at the age of 18 in 2000, and won her third title three years later, defeating American Patricia Miranda in the 2003 final. Those two are expected to meet again at the 2004 Games.
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    Irina Melnik
    Country Ukraine
    Sport Wrestling
    Event(s) Freestyle 48kg (105.5lbs)
    Birthdate February 8, 1982
    Height 4’11” / 150 cm
    Weight 105 lbs / 47.6 kgs

    Don Emmert/Getty Images
    Three-time world champion Irina Melnik.
    Now for the Olympic medal
    Three-time world champion Irina Melnik of Ukraine makes her Olympic debut as the gold-medal favorite in the 48kg/105.5 lbs weight class. Her chief rival is likely to be American Patricia Miranda.

    Queen of the Worlds
    At the 2003 World Championships at Madison Square Garden in New York, Melnik defeated Miranda in the gold-medal match. It marked her first world title at the 48kg category. Her previous titles were at 46kg, which is not an Olympic weight. In 2001, she defeated Canada’s Carol Huyhn for the world title. In 2000, she beat Inga Karamtshakova of Russia for the gold. Melnik is also a former junior and cadet world champion.
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    KnockOut2
    Post subject: PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2004 3:10 pm

    Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 6:19 pm
    Posts: 439
    Location: Louisville, KY
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    Don Emmert/Getty Images
    Yoshida is the two-time reigning world champ at 55kg.
    Saori Yoshida (JPN)
    Women’s freestyle 55kg (121 lbs)

    Yoshida, whose father Eikatsu was a national champion in 1973, claimed the past two world championships. Both times she defeated American Tina George.

    Saori Yoshida
    Country Japan
    Sport Wrestling
    Event(s) Freestyle 55kg (121lbs)
    Birthdate October 5, 1982
    Birthplace Ichishi, Japan
    Height 5’2″ / 157 cm
    Residence Hisai, Japan

    Athens favorite
    Two-time world champion Saori Yoshida is the favorite in the 55kg (121 lbs) division for Athens. She defeated American Tina George in the finals at both the 2002 and 2003 World Championships, but George won’t be in Athens, as she lost to Tela O’Donnell at the U.S. Trials. Yoshida has never lost to a wrestler from outside of Japan, winning all 15 of the international competitions she has entered.

    Don Emmert/Getty Images
    Yoshida is the two-time reigning world champ at 55kg.
    All she knows
    At age 3, Yoshida followed her father and her two older brothers into the sport. Her father, Eikatsu, was a national champion in 1973. Yoshida has been so involved in the sport that she reportedly has said she doesn’t have any childhood memories of playing or doing anything other than wrestling

    Toppling a favorite
    In 2002, Yoshida defeated three-time world champion Seiko Yamamoto for a spot on the Japanese world team and promptly won her first world title at 55kg in dominating fashion. At the tournament in Halkida, Greece, Yoshida reportedly did not enjoy the questions, “Where is Seiko?” or references to her as “Seiko II.” Yamamoto is popular among male and female wrestlers and wrestling fans.

    Intense rivalry
    Yoshida’s battle for a berth on the Athens Olympic team was expected to be another classic showdown with Yamamoto. Yoshida had beaten Yamamoto five consecutive times since 2001, but at the 2003 national team trials, Yamamoto responded with back-to-back victories of her own. However, the Japanese Wrestling Federation intervened. Rather than leave a reigning world champion at home, the JWF suggested that Yoshida wrestle at 55kg and Yamamoto move up to 59kg. Sure enough, both claimed gold in their weight classes at the world championships. The rivalry was renewed when the two returned to Japan, but Yoshida prevailed handily at the national championships in December 2003 and again at the Japan Queens Cup in February 2004, thus earning the 55kg slot for Athens.
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    KnockOut2
    Post subject: PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2004 3:12 pm

    Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 6:19 pm
    Posts: 439
    Location: Louisville, KY
    Image

    Kaori Icho (JPN)
    Women’s freestyle 63 kg (138.5 lbs)

    Icho, who comes from a wrestling family, is the two-time defending 63kg world champion. At the 2003 Worlds, Icho defeated American Sara McMann while her older sister Chiharu Icho also won a world title in the non-Olympic 51kg class. Their brother was a wrestler as well.

    Image

    Kaori Icho
    Country Japan
    Sport Wrestling
    Event(s) Freestyle 63kg (138.5lbs)
    Birthdate June 13, 1984
    Birthplace Hachinohe, Japan
    Height 5’5″ / 165 cm
    Residence Nagoya, Japan

    World-class teammates
    The two-time defending world champion in the 63kg (138.5 lbs) division, Kaori Icho is one of three Japanese wrestlers who won gold at the 2003 World Championships in Olympic weight classes. Kaori’s older sister Chiharu, the champion at 51kg (112.25 lbs) — a division not offered at the Olympics — will compete in Athens at 48kg (105.5 lbs).

    Don Emmert/Getty Images
    Icho celebrates her 2003 World Championship.
    Set for a rematch
    At the 2003 Worlds in New York City, Icho was almost untouchable, outscoring her opponents 25-0 going into the gold medal match. Though Icho prevailed over Sara McMann of the U.S., the final was extremely close, with Icho winning 4-3 in overtime. Icho and McMann are expected to wrestle for gold in Athens.

    Making herself known
    Icho took up the sport as a 3-year-old at the Hachinohe Wrestling Club. She later entered the high school affiliate of Chukyo Women’s University in 2001 and quickly made a name for herself on the national wrestling scene. At the 2001 Japan Queens Cup meet, Icho defeated 51kg world champion Seiko Yamamoto and 1999 world silver medalist Mariko Shimizu for the championship at 56kg. One year later, Icho earned a berth on the national team at 63kg with another triumph at the Queens Cup. Just 18 at the time, Icho won her first national and world championships in 2002.

    Thrown for a loop
    The youngest member of the Japanese wrestling team, Icho has a knack for saying unexpected things. At the 2004 training camp, Japanese reporters asked her what she prayed for during her visit to a Shinto shrine to greet the New Year. While everyone figured she’d say something about Athens or the Olympics, Icho replied that she was hoping to get married.

    Bond between sisters
    Though Chiharu and Kaori are very close, they have trouble finding time to sit down and talk together. So, they leave notes (mostly Chiharu to Kaori) and write emails to each other. After Kaori finished second in the Asian Games in October 2002, the sisters promised each other that they would win world championships together. Kaori won the 63kg crown, but Chiharu placed second. So one month before the 2003 World Championships in New York, Chiharu sent an email to Kaori: “Let’s be world champions together, okay?” Kaori’s reply was a single smiley face, and a month later they fulfilled their promise.
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    KnockOut2
    Post subject: PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2004 3:13 pm

    Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 6:19 pm
    Posts: 439
    Location: Louisville, KY
    here is the link to the top-10 list

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