Three-Time Olympic Champion Yoshida Retires

By Eric Olanowski

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (January 8) - Saori YOSHIDA, Japan’s 13-time world champion, and three-time Olympic gold medalist, announced her retirement today on Twitter, saying, “Thank you for always rooting for Saori Yoshida. This time, we decided to break the life of the wrestler for 33 years. I have been working hard as an active wrestler for a long time, thanks to the support of many people. Thank you very much, everyone.” 

Yoshida is the most decorated freestyle wrestler ever and is often regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. 

The 36-year-old legend reached the top of the podium at every World Championship she competed at from 2002-2015 and is one of two wrestlers to win three consecutive women’s wrestling Olympic gold medals. The only other woman with three Olympic titles is Yoshida’s longtime teammate, Kaori ICHO (JPN), who won her fourth Olympic gold medal in Rio. 

From the time Yoshida made her senior-level international debut in 2002, she only faced defeat a trio of times and amassed an unblemished 119-0 record before dropping her first match.

Yoshida's first loss came at the 2008 World Cup in Taiyuan, China when Marcie VAN DUSEN (USA) defeated her, 2-0. She wouldn’t drop another match again until the 2012 World Cup, where she lost 3-0 to eventual Olympic silver medalist, Valeria KOBLOVA-ZHOLOBOVA (RUS). She went undefeated for four years before suffering her third and final career loss, where she was upended by America’s Helen MAROULIS, 4-1, in the gold-medal bout of the Rio Olympic Games. 

Yoshida's attention now moves from the wrestling mat to the television where she plans to further her career as an actress/TV personality. Here's a list of Yoshia's upcoming media appearances, or you can follow her post-wrestling journey on her Twitter and Instagram