With the announcement that wrestling will be back on the Summer Games events list, there was an air of excitement as defending world champion Jessica MacDonald was hoping to repeat as world champion. Budapest, Hungary set the stage for what Jessica MacDonald was hoping would cement her legacy as one of the greatest women’s wrestlers in modern history.
Instead, she had to find solace in a bronze medal in the freestyle women’s 51-kilogram weight class. Of note, it marked a unique milestone in her career as she has claimed a medal at three consecutive FILA world championships.
At the 2011 championships in Istanbul, Turkey, she grabbed the bronze, while the 2012 championships would serve as her defining moment. As the event was held at Millennium Place in Strathcona, Alberta, Canada, winning the gold medal on home soil was an exciting moment for her. The win that set the tone at that tournament involved defeated defending world champion Zamira Rakhmanova to advance to the semis.
With the gold medal, she became the third woman to win a world title, following Martine DuGrenier and Christine Nordhagen-Vierling. As a member of the Brock University Wrestling Club out of St. Catharines, Ontario, it marked the first world champion in the university’s history.
Despite being victorious in her first three matches at this year’s worlds, she was bested by Yanan Sun in the semifinals. The two had grappled in the gold medal match at the 2012 world championships.The final score in the loss was a discouraging 7-0 mark.
She would prevail over Ukraine’s Yuliya Blanhinya by an 8-6 score to grab the bronze-medal. After the first period, she was actually down by a 4-0 margin. She would then face a 6-2 deficit where she showed her mettle by registering six unanswered points. Although it was a hard earned bronze, the qualities of perseverance and determination defined her remarkable comeback victory.
This season, MacDonald has enjoyed tremendous success. Impressively, she has won a medal at every event that she has participated in. She captured the gold medal at four events including the World Cup, Pan-American Championships, Grand Prix of Spain and the Battle at the Falls.