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lu1979

Can the USA's Women unseat Japan in Tokyo?

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If someone had suggested this as a possibility to me a year or two ago I would have told them they were nuts.   Now looking at the team the US has assembled and from what I know of what Japan is likely to send I think it is a real possibility.  From what I understand from the Japanese selection process the spot was guranteed to anyone who medaled at the 2019 Worlds.  If that is the case they have women picked at 53kg, 57, 62, and 76.  They have not qualified 50kg yet but they are sending Yui Susaki to the Asian Qualifier this weekend to do that.  Susaki is a brilliant young wrestler who won World Golds in 2017 & 18 as a teenager.  She lost the spot to Yuki Irie in 2019 who failed to make the top 5.  I expect that Susaki will be their rep but you never know.  68 kg is qualified. Sara Dosho took 5th in 2019 to qualify the weight but she has lots of past success including the Olympic GM in 2016 and World Gold Silver & 2 Bronze medals. She is only 26.

Anyway my guess at the Japanese Team is:

50 kg - Yui Susaki (21) 2X WGM

53 kg - Mayu Mukaida (23) 2X WGM 2X WSM ***

57 kg - Risako Kawai (26) OGM 3X WGM + WSM

62 kg Yukako Kawai (23) WSM & W BzM

68 kg - Sara Dosho (26) OGM WGM WSM & WBzM

76 kg - Hiroe Minagawa (33) WSM & 2 WBzM

 

Now despite the impressive amount of hardware the Japanese team displays I think our ladies match up with that team pretty well.  Like I said I would have never thought this would be a possibility a few years ago as dominant as Japan looked on both the senior and age group levels.  (and before anyone starts I KNOW THEY DO NOT KEEP TEAM SCORES at the Olympics - but let's face it we all count anyway)  

However the case for the US team:

We will enter as favorites at the top two weights - 68 & 76 kg.  Tamyrah and Adeline have looked great and have a strong chance of getting gold.  At 53 kg Jacarra has the head to head win against the Japanese women the last time they met and also is one of the frontrunners for the gold at that very tough weight.  The most decorated Japanese wrestler shares a weight with our returning Olympic gold medalist.  If Helen is back to her old form I like her chances.  At 50 kg Hildebrant is going to be a tough out for anyone.  She is big for the weight and I think she will contend for a medal. Kayla Miracle at 62 kg is also tough and could break through although she hasn't done so yet.  I would love to see the US team out perform the Japanese on their home turf.  What is the consensus of this board?  Am I nuts?

 

*** Corrected 53 kg to Mayu Mukaida who took Silver in 2019 at that weight ***

 

Edited by lu1979

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39 minutes ago, lu1979 said:

If someone had suggested this as a possibility to me a year or two ago I would have told them they were nuts.   Now looking at the team the US has assembled and from what I know of what Japan is likely to send I think it is a real possibility.  From what I understand from the Japanese selection process the spot was guranteed to anyone who medaled at the 2019 Worlds.  If that is the case they have women picked at 53kg, 57, 62, and 76.  They have not qualified 50kg yet but they are sending Yui Susaki to the Asian Qualifier this weekend to do that.  Susaki is a brilliant young wrestler who won World Golds in 2017 & 18 as a teenager.  She lost the spot to Yuki Irie in 2019 who failed to make the top 5.  I expect that Susaki will be their rep but you never know.  68 kg is qualified. Sara Dosho took 5th in 2019 to qualify the weight but she has lots of past success including the Olympic GM in 2016 and World Gold Silver & 2 Bronze medals. She is only 26.

Anyway my guess at the Japanese Team is:

50 kg - Yui Susaki (21) 2X WGM

53 kg - Nariami Irie (26) WSM 2019 lost to JW

57 kg - Risako Kawai (26) OGM 3X WGM + WSM

62 kg Yukako Kuwai (23) WSM & W BzM

68 kg - Sara Dosho (26) OGM WGM WSM & WBzM

76 kg - Hiroe Minagawa (33) WSM & 2 WBzM

 

Now despite the impressive amount of hardware the Japanese team displays I think our ladies match up with that team pretty well.  Like I said I would have never thought this would be a possibility a few years ago as dominant as Japan looked on both the senior and age group levels.  (and before anyone starts I KNOW THEY DO NOT KEEP TEAM SCORES at the Olympics - but let's face it we all count anyway)  

However the case for the US team:

We will enter as favorites at the top two weights - 68 & 76 kg.  Tamyrah and Adeline have looked great and have a strong chance of getting gold.  At 53 kg Jacarra has the head to head win against the Japanese women the last time they met and also is one of the frontrunners for the gold at that very tough weight.  The most decorated Japanese wrestler shares a weight with our returning Olympic gold medalist.  If Helen is back to her old form I like her chances.  At 50 kg Hildebrant is going to be a tough out for anyone.  She is big for the weight and I think she will contend for a medal. Kayla Miracle at 62 kg is also tough and could break through although she hasn't done so yet.  I would love to see the US team out perform the Japanese on their home turf.  What is the consensus of this board?  Am I nuts?

 

You’re optimistic and fresh off last weekend’s trials for our team. You aren’t nuts, but you are very optimistic. 

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Irie medaled at 55kg, I don't think she'll automatically get the spot at 53. Irie lost in the 2020 Japan Championship 53kg final to Akari Fujinami. There's also Mukaida who beat Hildebrandt at the 2019 Worlds at 53 and won a silver, losing to North Korea, who just announced they weren't participating in the Olympics. 

I'd favor the USA at 68 and 76 but in every other weight Japan is insanely deep. They are heavy favorites to win the unofficial women's team title at home. And by heavy I mean as sure a thing as you can have in sports. 

Edit: Also worth noting that Japan has already qualified 5 of the 6 women's weight classes and they get 1 men's and 1 women's auto qualifying spot for being the host country and if they dont need the extra bid then the Asian OGQ gets an extra bid so they are just sending Yui Susaki to the Asian OGQ for experience. Susaki will probably win gold in Tokyo at 50kg. 

Edited by Jaroslav Hasek

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2 hours ago, lu1979 said:

They have not qualified 50kg yet but they are sending Yui Susaki to the Asian Qualifier this weekend to do that.  Susaki is a brilliant young wrestler who won World Golds in 2017 & 18 as a teenager.  

Are you sure that Japan needs to qualify 50kg?  I'm pretty sure they get an automatic spot in every weight for WFS, MFS, and Greco as the host nation, unless something has changed.

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1 minute ago, ShakaAloha said:

Are you sure that Japan needs to qualify 50kg?  I'm pretty sure they get an automatic spot in every weight for WFS, MFS, and Greco as the host nation, unless something has changed.

I was not aware of the automatic qualifying spot (thanks for the info JH) but I do know Susaki is going to the Asian qualifier and fully expect her to win that.  I have watched her wrestle and she is amazing.  Like everyone I was shocked she lost the spot in 2019.  The consensus seems to be that I am seeing through red, white, & blue glasses and you may all be right. In my defense I was voted class optimist in High school. :)

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1 hour ago, Jaroslav Hasek said:

Irie medaled at 55kg, I don't think she'll automatically get the spot at 53. Irie lost in the 2020 Japan Championship 53kg final to Akari Fujinami. There's also Mukaida who beat Hildebrandt at the 2019 Worlds at 53 and won a silver, losing to North Korea, who just announced they weren't participating in the Olympics. 

I'd favor the USA at 68 and 76 but in every other weight Japan is insanely deep. They are heavy favorites to win the unofficial women's team title at home. And by heavy I mean as sure a thing as you can have in sports. 

Edit: Also worth noting that Japan has already qualified 5 of the 6 women's weight classes and they get 1 men's and 1 women's auto qualifying spot for being the host country and if they dont need the extra bid then the Asian OGQ gets an extra bid so they are just sending Yui Susaki to the Asian OGQ for experience. Susaki will probably win gold in Tokyo at 50kg. 

Thanks JH - I corrected the 53 kg weight - Am I correct in my assumption that Japan was awarding the Olympic spot to anyone who medaled in the 2019 Worlds without further competitions?  I seem to remember reading that back sometime after the 2019 worlds but I haven't seen anything lately confirming that.  Are you aware of their process?

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The only Japanese women I think are 'locked on' for gold (or near enough) are Susaki and R. Kawai, while Gray and Mensah are clear favorites at their weights, so yes it seems very possible.

I believe 53kg would be Mukaida for Japan, who is a gold contender but unreliable by Japanese standards (and lost 2x North Korean in 2019 - last time getting teched - shame that N. Korea just pulled out of the games...).

Edited by ufo

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9 minutes ago, ufo said:

The only Japanese women I think are 'locked on' for gold (or near enough) are Susaki and R. Kawai, while Gray and Mensah are clear favorites at their weights, so yes it seems very possible.

I believe 53kg would be Mukaida for Japan, who is a gold contender but unreliable by Japanese standards (and lost 2x North Korean in 2019 - last time getting teched - shame that N. Korea just pulled out of the games...).

Well R Kawai may be locked in for Gold but I doubt she is more locked in than Saori Yoshida was in 2016 and you remember what happened there.  I know Helen has had to overcome some tough obstacles but I will not count her out.  i am hoping she can find that old magic one more time.

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3 minutes ago, lu1979 said:

Well R Kawai may be locked in for Gold but I doubt she is more locked in than Saori Yoshida was in 2016 and you remember what happened there.  I know Helen has had to overcome some tough obstacles but I will not count her out.  i am hoping she can find that old magic one more time.

Isn't Helen competing at 53kg anyway? Risako will be at 57kg.

Personally I do think R Kawai is more of a favorite than Yoshida was in 2016. Yoshida was 34/35 years old and her margin of victory was shrinking every year in the worlds. In 2015 she was crying after winning the gold, when asked why - 'because it might be the last' - so I think she knew too. I saw several ppl calling it years in advance and I even bet on Helen winning (at great odds) - I wouldn't bet against Risako though (although the Chinese girl might be worth a bet at long odds, if that's your kinda thing). Risako is also the *only* Japanese lady to have kept a perfect track record at the world championships since the last Olympics.

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Just now, ufo said:

Isn't Helen competing at 53kg anyway? Risako will be at 57kg.

Personally I do think R Kawai is more of a favorite than Yoshida was in 2016. Yoshida was 34/35 years old and her margin of victory was shrinking every year in the worlds. In 2015 she was crying after winning the gold, when asked why - 'because it might be the last' - so I think she knew too. I saw several ppl calling it years in advance and I even bet on Helen winning (at great odds) - I wouldn't bet against Risako though (although the Chinese girl might be worth a bet at long odds, if that's your kinda thing). Risako is also the *only* Japanese lady to have kept a perfect track record at the world championships since the last Olympics.

Helen is at 57 Jaccarra Winchester is at 53.

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6 minutes ago, lu1979 said:

Helen is at 57 Jaccarra Winchester is at 53.

ah OK. Helen vs Kawai is certainly an interesting matchup to look forward to then but I'd have to go with the wrestler who's swept the last cycle at the weight (and is 10 years younger than Yoshida)... it's up a weight class (or two, really) from Helen's 2016 win as well....

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1 hour ago, lu1979 said:

I was not aware of the automatic qualifying spot (thanks for the info JH) but I do know Susaki is going to the Asian qualifier and fully expect her to win that.  I have watched her wrestle and she is amazing.  Like everyone I was shocked she lost the spot in 2019.  The consensus seems to be that I am seeing through red, white, & blue glasses and you may all be right. In my defense I was voted class optimist in High school. :)

You must be right about them taking away the automatic spot at each weight for the host nation.  Japan is sending all their #1's at the weights they didn't place top-5 at 2019 Worlds, so that would be the only logical explanation.    

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2 hours ago, lu1979 said:

Thanks JH - I corrected the 53 kg weight - Am I correct in my assumption that Japan was awarding the Olympic spot to anyone who medaled in the 2019 Worlds without further competitions?  I seem to remember reading that back sometime after the 2019 worlds but I haven't seen anything lately confirming that.  Are you aware of their process?

I'm not 100% on Japan's team picking process but that sounds correct. USA's women's team is awesome, imo, the best American team ever, and I expect them to win a lot of medals, it's just that Japan is insanely good. Better comparatively than Russia is at men's freestyle. 

Edited by Jaroslav Hasek

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If Helen is back to her old self, she is a favorite for gold. Not sure she is yet, but by August, it’s a realistic possibility. Winchester also has Gold potential. Add in Tamyrah and Adeline as gold favorites and we have 4 legit gold medal contenders... we could realistically win half the gold medals and the other three could medal or at least place high. Admittedly, I’m not an expert on the Japanese women, but if we wrestle to our potential, I can’t imagine them being much of a favorite.

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1 hour ago, Eagle26 said:

If Helen is back to her old self, she is a favorite for gold. Not sure she is yet, but by August, it’s a realistic possibility. Winchester also has Gold potential. Add in Tamyrah and Adeline as gold favorites and we have 4 legit gold medal contenders... we could realistically win half the gold medals and the other three could medal or at least place high. Admittedly, I’m not an expert on the Japanese women, but if we wrestle to our potential, I can’t imagine them being much of a favorite.

Even if Helen is back to her old self she would at best be a co favorite with the Japanese woman who has won Gold in the last 3 world championships. Still I like her chances of pulling off another Gold but I am biased.

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Things could have changed due to COVID, but as of December 2019, any Japanese world medalist from 2019 was automatically on the Olympic team. Susaki got a reprieve when Irie shockingly failed to medal, opening the door for her to beat Irie for the spot later. I assume the article below is still accurate, but Susaki has three losses ever, all to Irie. 3x Cadet champ, 2x junior champ. 2x senior champ. Still just 21.

https://uww.org/article/susaki-outlasts-rival-irie-ticket-olympic-qualifier-otoguro-clinches-tokyo-2020-spot

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6 hours ago, Eagle26 said:

If Helen is back to her old self, she is a favorite for gold. Not sure she is yet, but by August, it’s a realistic possibility. Winchester also has Gold potential. Add in Tamyrah and Adeline as gold favorites and we have 4 legit gold medal contenders... we could realistically win half the gold medals and the other three could medal or at least place high. Admittedly, I’m not an expert on the Japanese women, but if we wrestle to our potential, I can’t imagine them being much of a favorite.

In my opinion, Helen's not at nearly the same level as when she's been at lower weights and would tech or pin everyone but the top few in the world. She's still very good and a medal contender but I'd guess her to be our 4th most likely ladies' gold possibility. 

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I want our women to win and I think all six are amazing wrestlers and it is awesome to think how much success they will have;

however,

We could win 3 golds and still not do as well as Japan. 
 

Thats how good Japan is. 

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17 hours ago, Jaroslav Hasek said:

I'm not 100% on Japan's team picking process but that sounds correct. USA's women's team is awesome, imo, the best American team ever, and I expect them to win a lot of medals, it's just that Japan is insanely good. Better comparatively than Russia is at men's freestyle. 

This.  Barring multiple major upsets of the Japanese women, we will not unseat them as the best team at these Olympics.  They would be favored against us in every weight, except for Tamyra, Adeline, and maybe Jaccara, and all of those are close matches.  They are significantly better than we are at 50kg and 63kg.  As someone pointed out, they are also the favorite at 57kg over Helen (who is moving up from 53) with the reigning Olympic gold medalist and three time world champ as their rep.  Their second string ladies would give our number 1's a good run as well.  

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47 minutes ago, ShakaAloha said:

This.  Barring multiple major upsets of the Japanese women, we will not unseat them as the best team at these Olympics.  They would be favored against us in every weight, except for Tamyra, Adeline, and maybe Jaccara, and all of those are close matches.  They are significantly better than we are at 50kg and 63kg.  As someone pointed out, they are also the favorite at 57kg over Helen (who is moving up from 53) with the reigning Olympic gold medalist and three time world champ as their rep.  Their second string ladies would give our number 1's a good run as well.  

So in six weight classes, we are favored in two and maybe one more? Doesn't seem like such a long shot. I would rather win more individual golds than a fictional team championship, so if adeline and tamara perform and we have one any other to have a break out performance, I will be happy

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11 minutes ago, Jim L said:

So in six weight classes, we are favored in two and maybe one more? Doesn't seem like such a long shot. I would rather win more individual golds than a fictional team championship, so if adeline and tamara perform and we have one any other to have a break out performance, I will be happy

We will not win more individual golds than Japan at the 2021 Olympics.

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