Meet Adeline Gray, the wrestler crushing sexist stereotypes

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Every day of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Fusion is highlighting a handful of the games’ thousands of athletes. They won’t always be Americans, but they will always be worthy of your cheers.


Adeline Gray
United States, Women's wrestling 75kg
When she’s competing: Thursday, August 18 at 9:18 a.m.

Never in history has the Untied States won a gold medal in women's wrestling, but today Adeline Gray will try to break that streak. The 25-year-old is a three time world champion and a favorite to win the gold today in the women's freestyle 75kg wrestling competition.  Part of the reason she's the first to dominate the sport for the U.S., she thinks, is because we don't teach girls that wrestling is an option for them.

“We’re still developing role models in women’s wrestling,” Gray told Fortune. “It’s easy for boys to just pick a mainstream sport that we associate with strength and power and think about a future in the NFL or the NBA. But with women’s sports, there’s still this challenge of what do you do with your goals beyond four years of college sports.”

But in 2020, because of lack of women's participation, wrestling will be removed from the next Olympic games. If Gray is going to win that medal, she has to do it now.


Vashti Cunningham
United States, high jump
When she’s competing: Thursday, August 18 at 9. a.m. (qualifying)

Vashti Cunningham has a expectation to break. As the daughter of  former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, she's struggled to break out for her own athleticism and talent. But this year, she's pulled herself out from under her father's shadow. At the World Indoor Track and Field Championships, Cunningham jumped 1.99 meters or, 6 and a half feet. Today, she'll compete against the best in the world, and if she can maintain that consistency, she'll be on the podium.


Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.