By Robert Forster, PT CEO August 19, 2016
We are so proud of Helen Maroulis who beat the seemingly unbeatable 3 X Olympic Gold Medalist from Japan to make history as the first ever Gold Medalist for USA Women’s Wrestling! This medals means so much to women’s wrestling in America and to me personally.
The challenges Helen faced and overcame in this truly amateur sport are largely unknown, and created a perilous path to this Gold medal.
Being a pioneer in what was a mostly male dominated sport, Helen moved past the stereo types and rude comments, and the lack of funding available to female wrestlers to win this medal. With little or no money available for training and living expenses the last few years, Helen had to split her time between a shared spare room in a generous SoCal benefactor’s home and the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs; she never really had a home base, but was always doing the hard work to improve her fitness and skills.
|Helen un-scored upon at Las Vegas Worlds |
Beginning in June of 2105 we worked with Helen to improve her metabolic efficiency and increase her ability to be more active in matches as well as creating the joint stability necessary to eliminate and prevent chronic injury. She won the World Championships last September in Las Vegas without allowing one point scored against her.
US Olympians Helen Maroulis and Elena Pirozkohva, along with
Aaron Pico at PHASE IV performing Forster Structure Program©for Injury Prevention, Joint StabilityFor the Olympic Games however, with just 5 women’s weight classes, Helen, who was already having trouble making the 55kg (121.254 Lbs) weight class had to drop to 53 kg (116.845 Lbs) Olympic weight limit. Working with PHASE IV Head Exercise Physiologist and her personal support team we created a heart rate specific running program to improve her ability to burn more fat at all intensities of training and competition.
This served to not only to reduce body fat, but allowed her to push the pace harder in her matches with less lactic acid build up and less fatigue than her competitors.
Helen’s Metabolic Efficiency progression using specific Heart Rate intensity training and recovery based on her VO2 testing results More recently, she endured the stress of a grueling travel schedule necessary to find international competition. She traveled to Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and Spain in recent months making her weight cut to the Olympic weight class even more difficult. Working with her right through her time in Rio, we fine tuned her training, diet and recovery schedule to allow for the otherwise grueling weight cut to be more tolerable and safe.
While this registers as just one of over 55 Olympic medals our athletes have won over the last 9 Olympic Games, this one is the most inspirational for me personally.
Helen Maroulis Team US, competes against Myong Suk Jong of Republic of Korea during the Women’s 53 kg quarterfinalsin Rio Wrestling is my first love in sports; and I’ve wrestled most of my life including a stint at D1 Bloomsberg University in Pennsylvania before entering PT school, and from age 45 – 49 to qualify for the Masters National Wrestling Championships.
Because I’ve spent decades working with elite track and field athletes and learning the training science used by legendary coach Bobby Kersee to prepare his athletes to capture at least one Gold Medal at each of the last 9 consecutive Olympic Games; I knew the American training techniques in wrestling had to evolve if the US was to succeed in international competition. That began a ten year personal mission to bring modern training science to US wrestling. However, wrestlers are hard headed when it comes to change. To prove the PHASEIV Science paradigm we first set out to change the training and weight loss methods at the local high school wrestling program in Santa Monica. That resulted in their first State Champion in nearly 20 years.
Then we began working with the passionate US men’s and women’s coaches at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and we had our first wrestling World Champ. This lead us to being asked to present our science based approach to training and weight management at the Olympic Trials Sports Science Symposium. We were well received, and put 5 PHASE IV athletes into the best of three match finals at the US Olympic Trials: 3 emerged as Team USA Olympians.
Now we have the first US Women’s Olympic Champion in wrestling. S omething we can all be proud of!
First Wrestling Olympic Gold for PHASE IV Science and Team USA Woman’s Wrestling Getty Image Rio, Brazil I want to thank Coach Mark Black, Dr. Ken Lane, and Dave Kirby, for helping spread the new science of performance to the wrestling community. Thanks also to the great coaching staff at the US Olympic Training Center, including Head Women’s Coach Terry Steiner, as well as Helen’s personal support team for the opportunity to work together for her success.
Finally, a big thanks to the great staff at Forster PT and PHASE IV for always finding ways to improve the lives of our clients and the elite athletes we have the great privilege to work with. This is what it is all about.
Helen Maroulis with her historic Gold Medal, Getty Image, Rio, Brazil (Ceremony on NBC)
Call PHASE IV to learn more about our combat sports programs for youth, amateur, and elite athletes: 310-582-8212