TOKYO — Japan’s three-time Olympic wrestling champion announced her retirement officially on Thursday, saying it’s time for the next generation of wrestlers to take the stage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 36-year-old Saori Yoshida, who also won 13 consecutive world championships, spoke before a packed news conference at a hotel in central Tokyo.
“I realize I have done everything I can as a wrestler and it’s now time to let the next generation of wrestlers take over,” Yoshida said.
Yoshida had been taking time away from competition since the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she fell short of a fourth-straight Olympic gold medal and settled for silver.
She has been serving as a coach for the Japanese national team in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics.
She received the People’s Honor Award in 2012 after surpassing Aleksandr Karelin’s record for consecutive world titles. The Russian legend won three Olympic gold medals and nine world championships between 1988 and 1999.