Top Wrestlers of the 2010's

By Andrew Hipps

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (May 27) -- Wrestling's most significant event during the 2010's came on Feb. 11, 2013, when the International Olympic Committee announced that wrestling was dropped from the 25 core sports at the Olympic Games. The announcement sent shockwaves through the wrestling world, but the wrestling community and its leaders came together over the next seven months and fought to keep wrestling in the Games. 

On Sept. 8, 2013, the IOC overturned its decision and wrestling was reinstated for the 2020 Olympics. In the years that followed, wrestling underwent many changes, including rule modifications and additional weight categories in women's wrestling. 

With new rules also came more action and the arrival of the sport’s biggest stars. 
Let's examine the top wrestlers of the 2010's.
Kaori ICHO (JPN)
From 2003 to 2016, Kaori ICHO (JPN) had one of the most dominant runs ever in international wrestling. Icho had a 13-year unbeaten streak and claimed four world Olympic gold medals, becoming the first women's wrestler to accomplish the feat, and 10 world titles.
Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS)
Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS), nicknamed "The Russian Tank," won his first senior world title at the age of 18 in 2014. He went on to repeat as world champion 2015 before capturing Olympic gold at the 2016 Rio Games.  After suffering his lone defeat at a world championship in 2017, Sadulaev came back to win world titles in both 2018 and 2019. He is also a five-time European champion.
Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) has been one of the world's most consistent performers since bursting on the world stage in 2011, winning eight world or Olympic medals in nine years. Burroughs claimed his first world title in 2011 before becoming an Olympic gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympics. He added world titles in 2013, 2015 and 2017, along with world bronze medals in 2014, 2018 and 2019.
Mijain LOPEZ (CUB)
Greco-Roman heavyweight Mijain LOPEZ (CUB) has compiled a wrestling resume that makes him one of the all-time greats. Lopez, now 37 years old, has won three Olympic gold medals, with two coming in the 2010's. His last Olympic gold medal came in Rio at the age of 33, which made him the 10th oldest Greco-Roman Olympic champion. Lopez has won five world titles and two world silver medals.
Roman VLASOV (RUS) has been one of the world's top Greco-Roman stars in the 2010's. Vlasov became a world champion at the age of 20 in 2011. The next year, Vlasov won gold at the Olympic Games in London. He earned a world silver in 2013. Vlasov claimed his second world title in 2015 before repeating as Olympic champion at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Natalia VOROBEVA (RUS) has won two Olympic medals and four world medals during the 2010's. At the 2012 London Olympics, Vorobeva defeated two-time Olympic medalist Stanka ZLATEVA (BUL) to win gold. After winning world medals in 2013 (silver) and 2014 (bronze), Vorobeva won her first world title in 2015. She added a second Olympic medal in 2016 when she finished with a silver at the Rio Games. Vorobeva won her second world title at the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan.
Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) is one of the world's most decorated Greco-Roman wrestlers during the 2010's. Nicknamed "The White Bear," Aleksanyan has claimed Olympic or world medals in seven of the last eight years, with four being gold medals. After winning silver medals at both the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships, Aleksanyan reeled off four consecutive world-level titles.  In 2016, Aleksanyan won gold at the Rio Olympics, becoming the first Armenian Olympic Champion of the 21st century.
Vladimir KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO) has been one of the world's most popular wrestlers for the past decade. His first major breakthrough came at the 2012 Olympic Games in London when he won a silver medal in freestyle. After winning a world silver medal in 2014, Khinchegashvili became a world champion the following year in Las Vegas. However, it was his run to Olympic gold at the 2016 Rio Games that really cemented his legacy as one of the greats. He added a third world medal, a bronze, in 2017.
Freestyle heavyweight Taha AKGUL (TUR) had a dominant run from 2014 to 2016, winning two world titles and the Olympic gold medal at the Rio Olympics. He added world silver medals in both 2017 and 2019, losing to rival Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) in the championship match both years.
Adeline GRAY (USA)
Adeline GRAY (USA) made history in 2019 by becoming the first American woman to win five world titles in wrestling. Her world titles came in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019. The 2016 Olympian has won gold medals at the world championships each of the last four times she has competed in the event. Her last defeat at a world championship came in 2013, when she earned a bronze medal to go along with a world bronze she won in 2011.