RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Helen Maroulis had some sturdy roadblocks between herself and a gold medal Thursday.
First: She had to overcome the history of the United States never having a woman win the top Olympic prize in wrestling.
Second: She had to defeat the greatest female wrestler of all-time.
But Maroulis was made for the Rio de Janeiro matchup, upsetting the three-time defending gold medalist Saori Yoshida 4-1 in the women's 53-kilogram freestyle final.
"I've dreamed of this my whole life," Maroulis told USA TODAY. "I put it on this pedestal." "I've been dreaming about wrestling Saori for so long," Maroulis said. "She's a hero. She's the most decorated wrestler in the sport. It's such an honor to wrestle her."
Match ended 25 minutes ago. Saori Yoshida is still crying, borderline sobbing after the medal ceremony.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) August 18, 2016
Maroulis, 24, also won her first world title in the 2015 world championships. Tears flowed from her eyes Thursday, as she stood on the top spot of the Rio podium. Yoshida also cried, as she watched her unprecedented run reduced to dust. Yoshida had a huge streak, not losing a match since prior to the 2012 Summer Games in London.
"I just didn't want to look at Goliath and get scared." -- Helen Maroulis— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) August 18, 2016
Maroulis previously told NBCOlympics.com that she was preparing for the dream matchup.
"Here's the deal," Maroulis told NBCOlympics.com. "I want to win a gold medal in Rio. So I know that I will probably have to wrestle Saori Yoshida, but I also know that I'm probably going to have to wrestle four or five matches leading up to that. So she is not my biggest competitor – everyone's my biggest competitor. I don't underestimate anyone, I respect every opponent."
"So am I preparing for Saori? Of course, absolutely. I've been preparing for her for years, and I really look forward to wrestling her. But I'm also preparing for everyone else too, and I look forward to wrestling them as well."