Icho chooses not to seek fifth Olympic gold medal

Kaori Icho is a four-time Olympic champion (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

It appears that Kaori Icho's bid for an unprecedented fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal in wrestling is over.

The 35-year-old Icho was not listed among the entries in women's wrestling for the upcoming All Japan Championships released by the Japan Wrestling Federation this weekend. The Championships -- the last event for Japanese wrestlers to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics -- are scheduled for December 19-22 in Tokyo.

As InterMat reported in July, Icho, the legendary Japanese wrestler who is the only female athlete to have won four Olympic championships in any individual competition in any sport, lost in her bid to represent her country at the 2019 World Championships at 57 kilograms/125 pounds, falling to fellow 2016 Rio Olympic gold medalist Risako Kawai.

In light of that loss this past summer, Icho had only two options to earn a place on Japan's women's freestyle team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: drop down to 50 kilograms/110 pounds, or move up to 68 kilograms/149.6 pounds. She was not listed among the names in either weight class on the roster released by the Japanese Wrestling Federation.

Icho is one of the all-time greats in international freestyle wrestling, having won 14 gold medals in global competition. In addition to her four Olympic gold medals from the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Games, Icho has earned gold at 10 World Championships going back to 2002.


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