American wrestler Helen Maroulis defeated Mongolia’s Khongorzul Boldsaikhan 11-0 in a bronze medal match Thursday.
Maroulis, 29, who won the 53-kilogram division in 2016, became the first U.S. female wrestler to win more than one Olympic medal. She won gold in Rio in 2016.
WHAT A PERFORMANCE.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 5, 2021
Sports Spectrum reports two serious concussions led to Maroulis being diagnosed with PTSD, and she briefly retired before deciding to return to the mat. Her bronze medal carries a special significance after all she's been through.
She credited God for helping her return to the sport she loved.
"I just kind of felt like He revealed to me that if wrestling is where your pain and trauma happened and you run away from it for the rest of your life, you're not ever going to heal from it," she told Sports Spectrum.
Jordan Burroughs, an Olympic gold medalist, and four-time world wrestling champion tweeted about Maroulis' remarkable comeback on Wednesday.
"I'm so proud of @helen_maroulis," he wrote. "She's certified. Her battle over the last five years just to get back here tells you all you need to know about her. She's got work still to do, but she's a living testament that the color of your medal doesn't determine the size of your heart."
I'm so proud of @helen_maroulis She's certified. Her battle over the last five years just to get back here tells you all you need to know about her. She's got work still to do, but she's a living testament that the color of your medal doesn't determine the size of your heart.
— Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) August 4, 2021
Maroulis, a devout Christian, was born in Rockville, Maryland, and raised in Marquette, Michigan. She told Sports Spectrum her walk with the Lord began back in 2010 when a coach invited her to go to church. She had planned on sleeping through worship service, but she heard a sermon that "totally rocked (her) world."
Maroulis is outspoken about her faith and often mentions it during interviews and to her followers on social media.
"I like sharing what God's done in my life, and I'll share about the good or the bad because at the end of the day, He's with you through all of it and it's not about winning or losing," she told Sports Spectrum. "It's about knowing that, no matter what, He's there and He's good."
The first three words on her Twitter bio are "God, family, wrestling."
Before her Olympic journey to Tokyo began this spring, she pinned a tweet to her Twitter account on April 4 containing a verse from the Bible's Old Testament.
"Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?" - 2 Samuel 7:18
"Can't believe I get to go on this Olympic journey... AGAIN!!!!" Maroulis wrote followed by the hashtags #2xolympian #glorytoGod.
During an interview with CBN following the Rio Olympics, Maroulis said, "I brought all my flaws on that podium when I stepped up. Flaws in my wrestling are still there. I still get a gold medal. On the outside people might view me differently because they know I'm a gold medalist. That might change their view of me. But I'm like, 'God, I'm not different.' I was gold medal-worthy this whole time. This didn't change me this didn't add anything. My name is Helen Maroulis and God made me enough."