Saori Yoshida

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Saori Yoshida
Saori yoshida edited.jpg
Saori Yoshida with her coach Kazuhito Sakae after winning the 2008 Olympic gold
Personal information
Born (1982-10-05) 5 October 1982 (age 34)
Tsu, Japan
Alma mater Shigakkan University[1]
Height 1.57 m (5 ft 2 in)
Weight 53 kg (117 lb)
Sport Wrestling
Event(s) Freestyle
Club High School Wrestling Club Hisai
Sogho Security Services[2]
ALSOK Tokyo[1]
Coached by Masanori Ohashi
Shigeo Kinase[1]
Kazuhito Sakae
Eikatsu Yoshida[3]

Saori Yoshida (吉田 沙保里?, Yoshida Saori, born 5 October 1982) is a Japanese freestyle wrestler. Starting in 1998 she won almost every major competition,[4] including three Olympic Games, four Asian Games, and 13 world championships, and became the most decorated athlete in freestyle wrestling history.[5] As of 2016, Yoshida had only three senior career losses in international competitions, to Marcie Van Dusen (0–2) on 20 January 2008 at the Team World Cup series, Valeria Zholobova (1–2) on 27 May 2012 at the World Cup, and to Helen Maroulis (1–4) on 18 August 2016 at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. [6]

Yoshida was the flagbearer for Japan at the 2006 Asian Games[1] and at the 2012 Olympics.[7] In 2007, she became the first female wrestler to be named Japanese Athlete of the Year, and in 2012 she received the People's Honour Award.[1]


Yoshida started competing internationally as a cadet, in 1998, in the 52 kg category. By 2002, when she moved to seniors, she competed in the 59 kg division. The same year, she lost 4 kg, and remained in the 55 kg category until 2014. She moved to the 53 kg class at the 2014 World Cup and World Championships as part of her preparation for the 2016 Olympics,[8] where the traditional 48–55–63–75 kg scheme will be changed to 48–53–58–63–69–75 kg.[9] However, two weeks after the World Championships she returned to the 55 kg category at the 2014 Asian Games, which kept the old weight divisions.[4]

Family and public life[edit]

Yoshida is the daughter of Eikatsu Yoshida, a former national champion and wrestling coach.[10][1] She started training in wrestling aged 3, following her father and two elder brothers.[11] Since 2011 she is a face of the ALSOK security group and regularly appears in their commercials.[12]

In December 2008, the wrestling singlet which Yoshida wore in the Olympic final bout earlier that year, was sold for 551,000 yen (ca. US$6,123) at an internet auction, and the money was donated to the Japanese Red Cross society.[3]

In 2013, when the International Olympic Committee named wrestling as a candidate for exclusion from the Games, she became an active part of the Japanese lobbying team that persuaded the IOC to retain wrestling at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.[5]

In May 2014 Yoshida made a cameo appearance in the Japanese television drama Tokyo Metropolitan Guard Center, and later wished to resume acting after retiring from wrestling.[1]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


External links[edit]

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Ai Fukuhara
Flagbearer for  Japan
London 2012
Succeeded by
Keisuke Ushiro