'21 Breakthrough Performances of the Year: Geraei, Zare and Focken

By Eric Olanowski

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (December 7) -- Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI), Amir ZARE (IRI) and Aline FOCKEN (GER) have been named United World Wrestling’s Breakthrough Performance of the Year award winners.

Geraei came into 2021 without having a world or Olympic medal on his resume. The 25-year-old, known as ‘The Iceman,’ defied all expectations and claimed Olympic gold in Tokyo and closed out his improbable ’21 campaign with a world-title run in Oslo.

Zare, at just 20-year-old, had a colossal year. He collected an Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo before upsetting three-time world champ Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) and Olympic gold medalist Taha AKGUL (TUR) en route to gaining heavyweight supremacy at the Oslo World Championships.

Aline Focken picked the perfect time to retire. After missing out on the ’12 London Olympic Games and a ninth-place outing in Rio, the 12-year-veteran ended her career with an upset victory over five-time world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) in the 76kg Olympic finals.


WATCH: UWW's Top 10 Most-Viewed Bouts of '21

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (January 4) -- With the Olympic Games and World Championships held in the same year for the first time, wrestling fans got a chance to watch the stars of the sport not once but twice in 2021. As fans continue to watch and enjoy these battles, here's the list of the top-10 most-viewed bouts of 2021 from the United World Wrestling's YouTube channel.

10 -- European Olympic Qualifiers 65 kg: Haji ALIYEV (AZE) vs Vagzen TEVANYAN (ARM)


9 -- European Championships GR 130 kg: Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO) vs Riza KAYAALP (TUR)


8 -- Tokyo Olympics FS 97kg: Abdulrashid SADULAEV (ROC) vs Kyle SNYDER (USA)


7 -- World Championships WW 62kg: Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) vs Kayla MIRACLE (USA)


6 -- Asian Olympic Qualifiers GR 77kg: Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ) vs Shohei YABIKU (JPN)


5 -- Asian Olympic Qualifiers WW 50kg: Seema BISLA (IND) vs Yui SUSAKI (JPN)


4 -- World Championships WW 68kg: Rin MIYAJI (JPN) vs Meerim ZHUMANAZAROV (KGZ)


3 -- Asian Olympic Qualifiers FS 65kg: Amirmohammad YAZDANI (IRI) vs Ernazar AKMATALIEV (KGZ)


2 -- World Championships FS 86kg: David TAYLOR (USA) vs Hasan YAZDANI (IRI)


1 -- World Championships FS 97kg: Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RWF) vs Kyle SNYDER (USA)