Helen Maroulis, the lone U.S. female wrestler to win an Olympic title, sat out this past weekend’s world team trials, which means she will not compete at the world championships in September.
Maroulis is working her way back from blowing out her right shoulder in a first-round loss at worlds on Oct. 24, after she returned from a concussion. She underwent surgery in November and was cleared to return earlier this spring before tweaking the shoulder again.
Maroulis said Friday she was cleared again to compete at trials but chose rest, recovery and her long-term health given what happened in 2018.
“It’s not coming from a place of fear,” she said. “I’m just not ready yet.
“If trials were end of June, everything would be perfect. I’m still feeling good and confident for 2020.”
As Maroulis stressed at 2018 Worlds, she prioritizes health over wrestling.
“Not just for myself, but to set an example because I get a lot of messages from kids on Instagram — I have a concussion, or my teammate has a concussion.” Maroulis said in October. “There’s this wrestler mindset to just push through — you’re the toughest, find a way to win. But there’s just a lot more to it.”
Maroulis, 27, put together one of the most dominant stretches in sport from 2015-17, going 78-1 overall among three different weight classes and going unscored upon at two world championships.
In between, she beat Saori Yoshidain the Rio Olympic 53kg final, preventing the Japanese legend from a record fourth Olympic title.