US Olympic wrestling trials 2020: Preview

Your one-stop guide to the USA Olympic Wrestling Trials, including qualification, format and the favourites to make USA Wrestling's Tokyo 2020 team.

By Andrew Binner ·

The US Olympic wrestling trials 2020 is not a place for the feint-hearted.

With much-anticipated bouts between Olympic medallists and world champions headlining the event, there will be no shortage of blood, sweat and tears.

A grand total of 150 athletes will take to the mat April 4-5, at Bryce Jordan Center on the Penn State University campus in University Park.

There will be 52 athletes in men’s freestyle, 45 in women’s freestyle and 53 in Greco-Roman, all competing for places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Men's Freestyle Qualification

Only one athlete will be selected to represent Team USA in each weight category at Tokyo 2020, meaning there will be six team members in each of the men's freestyle, women's freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions.

Previous accolades will be disregarded in the decision for the final 2020 Olympic team, and every wrestler must win their place through the US Olympic Team Trials.

Any 2017, 2018, or 2019 Senior Freestyle USA World Championships participant and Final World Team Trials champion is automatically qualified for the trials. This means that several athletes have already qualified, including Olympic gold medallists Jordan Burroughs and Kyle Snyder.

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In addition, any 2019 Junior Freestyle and U23 Freestyle USA World Championships winners are given a berth, meaning upcoming talents like Bo Nickal, David Carr and Mason Parris will compete.

Senior World Championship medallists at an Olympic weight in 2019 will proceed straight through to the trials finals, while non-Olympic weight medallists will be given a place in the semi-finals of any weight category of their picking.

The highest-placed Senior USA medal winner at the 2019 Bill Farrell International Open who has yet to qualify for trials, will earn a place.

Gold medallists from the Pan American Olympic Qualifier 2020 will also progress to trials, alongside any anyone that qualifies the Olympic their weight category at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier.

The 2020 NCAA Division 1 champion will be rewarded with a place in the weight category of their choosing.

Finally, the top two finishers per weight category at the Final US Olympic Trials Qualifier will advance.

Women's Freestyle Qualification

All past USA World Championships participants and Final World Team Trials champions, like Rio 2016 gold medallist Helen Maroulis and five-time world champion Adeline Gray, will take part.

Any 2019 Junior World medallist will qualify in the category of their choosing.

Top-6 finishers in Olympic weight categories at the 2019 Senior World Championships, will be put straight into the finals at trials, while non-Olympic weight medallists will go through to the semi-finals of the category of their choosing.

The highest-placed USA medal winners at the 2019 Bill Farrell International Open not already qualified, will progress to the weight division of their choice at trials.

The top five finishers per weight category at the 2019 US Olympic Trials qualifier will win places in their chosen categories, alongside any 2020 Pan American Championships winners.

The WCWA and NAIA champion will qualify, while any top-two finishers at the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifiers will go straight into the finals at trials.

Finally, the top two finishers per weight category at the Final US Olympic Trials Qualifier will advance.

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Greco-Roman qualification

Similarly to the men's freestyle stipulations, any 2017, 2018, or 2019 Senior Freestyle USA World Championships participant and Final World Team Trials champion is automatically qualified for the trials.

Any 2019 Junior World medallist will qualify, while top-6 finishers in Olympic weight categories at the 2019 Senior World Championships, will be put straight into the finals at trials, while non-Olympic weight medallists will go through to the semi-finals of the category of their choosing.

All U-23 world medallists will progress, as will the highest-placed USA medal winners at the 2019 Bill Farrell International Open not already qualified.

Any 2020 Pan American Championships winners will qualify for the 2020U.S. Olympic Team Trials, while 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier champions will go straight into the finals.

The highest-placed 2020 U.S. Armed Forces Championships gold and silver medal winners per weight category who have yet to qualify, will be given a berth.

The 2020 NCAA Division 1 champion will be rewarded with a place in the weight category of their choosing.

Finally, the top two finishers per weight category at the Final US Olympic Trials Qualifier will advance.

events

20 Feb - 15 Mar

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualification Tournaments

Dakar, Amman, London, Buenos Aires, Paris

The format

The trials will mimic the Tokyo 2020 Olympics format, with 18 categories split evenly between the two freestyle and Greco-Roman discpilines.

For detailed breakdown of the new Olympic weight categories at Tokyo 2020, take a look at our article here.

The favourites

There is no such thing as a given in wrestling, given one small slip could see you pinned and eliminated. The chances of this are even higher at the US wrestling team trials, where seasoned veterans will be contesting every weight category.

Below, are a selection of perhaps the biggest names going into the event, who have qualified already.

The 2020 trials will see the long-awaited return of 57kg Rio 2016 gold medallist Helen Maroulis. Since winning in Brazil, she has suffered a series of concussion issues, but is now ready to defend her crown.

Also on the women's side, is there a more dominant figure than Adeline Gray? The 76kg wrestler is a five-time world champion, and is looking to put her Rio 2016 woes (where she suffered an injury) to bed.

The first major upset could be seen in the 74kg category, where London 2012 Olympic champ Jordan Burroughs will likely have a king-sized showdown with reigning two-time 79kg world champion Kyle Dake.

David Taylor, aka the Magic Man, is back after a lengthy injury layoff of his own, and is the one to watch in the 86kg division.

Watch out for a potential heavy weight showdown at 97kg between Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Kyle Snyder, and reigning two-time world champion at 92kg J'den Cox. While Snyder has the clear weight advantage, Cox has been on one of the most dominating runs of any USA wrestler ever.