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Olympic Profile: After Lifting First Lady, Wrestler Elena Pirozhkova Hopes to Lift Gold

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Elena Pirozhkova will compete in her first Olympic Games Wednesday when she wrestles at the 63-kilogram (138.75 pound) weight class of the women's freestyle competition.

Pirozhkova, who moved to the United States when she was three years old, began wrestling in order to help her brother on the high school team, and she first pinned a boy when she was in eighth grade. Read on to learn more about Pirozhkova.


Name: Elena Pirozkhkova

Age: 25

Date of birth: Oct. 13, 1986

Discipline: Women's freestyleWeight class: 63 kilograms (138.75 pounds)

Natural weight: 146 pounds

Height: 5-feet, 6-inches

Birthplace: Novokuznetsk, Russia

Hometown: Greenfield, Massachusetts

Current residence: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Club: Gator Wrestling Club

Coach: Vladislav Izboinikov

Olympic Games: 2012

Major international medals: 2010, silver, World Championships; 2010, gold, World University Games; 2008, gold, World University Games



USA Wrestling bio at Elena Pirozhkova


High School: Greenfield High School

Parents: Father, Sergey, deceased; Mother Tatyana

Siblings: Pirozhkova has eight brothers and sisters, including Natalia, Viktor, Alex, Olga, Marina, Nina, Rita and Maxim. Pirozhkova is the third-oldest.


Hobbies: Drawing, hiking, camping


Regardless of her performance at the 2012 Olympic Games, Elena Pirozhkova is likely to be remembered by at least one person: First Lady Michelle Obama.

When Pirozhkova met Obama before the Olympic Games began, the wrestler picked up the first lady, saying that she wanted to do something different.

"I hugged her, and then I asked her if I could pick her up. I think she was nervous," Pirozhkova said after the event. "I went slow. I just picked her up. I wanted to ask her permission. There was security all around. And she gave it. I will only meet her once. I wanted to do something different."

Pirozhkova, who was born in Russia and moved to the United States when she was three, is expected to wrestle on Wednesday, Aug. 8.

Read more from this author: Wrestler Ali Bernard Gets Second Chance at Gold

Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46.

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