TAIYUAN, China (Kyodo) Athens Olympic gold medalist Saori Yoshida saw her winning streak snapped at 119 matches Saturday after a shock defeat to American Marcie Van Dusen in the 55-kg weight category at a women’s freestyle wrestling World Cup team competition.
Yoshida’s stretch, which kicked off more than six years ago, came to an end when Van Dusen scored points on reversal maneuvers en route to a 2-0 ruling, sending the hitherto unrivaled Yoshida into a state of shock.
It was Yoshida’s first loss in international meet and marked the end of a 114-match winning streak against foreign competitors. The last time she lost was as a Chukyo University student in the quarterfinals of the national championships in December 2001.
“I gave up points when my opponent did reversals. But a loss is a loss,” said five-time world champion Yoshida. “It is a big shock to lose my first match at an international meet. I realize I have to train even harder.”
She sat near the edge of the mat crying nonstop during the other matches and said later through a stream of tears, “I thought I would win, so I think I went a little too easy and that hurt me.”
“I still have Beijing. I have to continue to train and I’ll definitely take the gold at the Olympics,” said Yoshida.
Six-time national champion Yoshida became the first women ever to win five straight world titles after claiming the championship at the 2007 World Wrestling Championships in Azerbaijan.
Ironically, Van Dusen, who was only 10th in her world championship debut last month, is the only woman on the U.S. team not to compete at the Beijing Olympics. She said she had practiced the reversal over and over with Yoshida in mind.