COLORADO SPRINGS — USA Wrestling is preparing hard for the Tokyo Olympics and one wrestler is continuing to pave the way for female athletes.
Helen Maroulis says wrestling has helped shape her as a person. She says her passion goes beyond the mat and she encourages young females to consider wrestling because she followed her heart and stuck with it. After Helen’s first year of wrestling, her parents wanted her to quit the sport because they didn’t think there would be enough opportunities for Helen in the long run.
Then in the year 2,000, the International Olympic Committee announced the addition of wrestling to the summer games. Hopeful, Helen stuck with the sport and she’s had quite the success. She’s the first U.S. Olympic Champion in Women’s Wrestling having won in 2016, taking down a 13-time world champion who had won the gold the three previous years. And she’s continued to have success. In the 2017 world championships she held all five opponents scoreless, winning the title 53-0 overall, becoming a two-world champion. Helen says wrestling takes more than strength. It’s an art.
“I really consider myself an artist and wrestling is a martial art. I really feel like when I’m out there on the mat, my muscles are just paintbrushes and I’m just putting colors together and the moves are just notes going together the same way that you play an instrument so to me it feels like I’m creating art when I wrestle,” said Helen Maroulis, the First U.S. Olympic Champion in Women’s Wrestling.
“To any girl out there, I would say the sport will definitely change your life. I think it’s a safe way and a healthy way to challenge yourself and to grow and to figure out who you are as a person and to just have goals to set, work hard at them and to overcome them. And I don’t know, wrestling has taught me so much about myself and it’s really helped me to come into my own.”
Helen says her days consist of training in-between meals and doctor visits. She says when she does get a little free time she likes to dance and play the harp.
Helen is looking forward to competing in Tokyo. She says the opportunity to have the 2020 Olympics this summer is rewarding, and she hopes to bring home the hardware.