DC Sports Day

Nats May Get Some Mojo From A Fan, Who Also Happens To Be An Olympic Champion

Helen Maroulis - Nationals

The Nationals may not know it yet, but if they need a little extra mojo going into the home stretch of the 2016 season, they can ask a record Olympian for some help. Maryland native Helen Maroulis made history Thursday night, upsetting three-time defending Olympic champion Saori Yoshida, 33, of Japan 4-1 in Rio, making Maroulis, whose family are die-hard Nats fans, the first-ever gold medalist in women’s wrestling  for team USA.

“I’ve dreamed of this my whole life,” Maroulis said after the match. “I put it on this pedestal.” She had previously won gold at the 2015 world championships in Las Vegas in the 55 kg division. This was her first time competing in an Olympic Games. “I’ve been dreaming about wrestling Saori for so long,” Maroulis added. “She’s a hero. She’s the most decorated wrestler in the sport. It’s such an honor to wrestle her.”

As a teenager, Maroulis left her home in Maryland, just outside of Washington (where her family still lives) and moved to Marquette, Michigan, where she finished her senior year of high school, just so she could train at the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University. All that sacrifice paid off in Rio.

But the Nats? Well, prior to coming down the stretch in her Olympic prep, Maroulis and some of her teammates took a trip to Citifield in New York in May, part of a promotional tour for “Beat The Streets,” the annual mega-fundraiser in new York the raises millions for inner-city wrestling programs. The homestanding Mets opponents that night, the Nationals. After touring the stadium and watching batting practice, Maroulis got to spend a few minutes talking with Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, who offered up a trip to Nats Park for when she was back in the area. “My family are huge Nats fans, we have had tickets for years but I rarely get to go since I am on the road training so much,” she said at the time. “However when I’m home later this summer, maybe then I can take my family, they were so great to meet and it’s such a thrill to be able to watch them taking batting practice from the field. The Mets were so great to have us, and I hope they will have us back.”

Needless to say it should not be too much of an ask to have the club host Helen and family when she comes back to the area soon. That special gold medal should do the trick, especially now that baseball will be back in the Olympics for 2020, where a Maryland native can maybe show some Nats how it’s done.