Cuba’s Mijain Lopez signed off from his fifth Olympics with a record fourth gold medal after winning the Greco-Roman super heavyweight final yesterday, minutes after compatriot Luis Alberto Orta won gold in the bantamweight category.
Lopez, who made his Olympic debut in 2004 and is the first male wrestler to win four Olympic golds, was calm and composed in his bout against Georgia’s Iakobi Kajaia, who took silver.
At Rio 2016, Lopez celebrated with a salsa-infused, hip-shimmy dance but this time the 38-year-old settled for tackling his coach who had sprinted onto the mat with the Cuban flag.
“I feel happy, proud to be the best in the world and make history,” said Lopez, who was congratulated by Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel in a video call. “I’ve had a long career, working hard to make these goals and break this record.”
Lopez took a 3-0 lead into the break with a gut wrench and turn and made it 5-0 with a step out point before Kajaia conceded with 10 seconds remaining.
Orta beat Japan’s Kenichiro Fumita 5-1 in the Greco-Roman bantamweight final.
“I immediately thought of my two-month old daughter when I won the gold medal. This is for her,” Orta said. Turkey’s Riza Kayaalp won his third Olympic medal in the Greco-Roman super heavyweight bronze bout, seeing off Iran’s Amin Mirzazadeh with a series of powerful point-scoring turns.
Kayaalp rolled the 130kg Iranian around like a rag doll on the mat to take a 7-0 lead at the break, eventually winning 7-2. The other bronze medal match was a more even contest between Sergei Semenov and Chile’s Yasmani Acosta, finishing 1-1, but it was the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) wrestler who claimed the win having scored the last technical point.
China’s Walihan Sailike and ROC’s Sergey Emelin took the Greco-Roman bantamweight bronze medals.
ROTTER-FOCKEN WINS GOLD
The women’s freestyle heavyweight title went to Germany’s Aline Rotter-Focken, who beat US five-time world champion Adeline Gray 7-3 in the final. It was her country’s first ever gold medal in women’s wrestling.
Gray went for the legs at the end of the first period but the move backfired when she fell on her back as Rotter-Focken countered to take a 3-0 lead.
Rotter-Focken scored four points soon after the break when she threw Gray down from a standing position. Gray made a takedown with 40 seconds left to close to 7-3, but the German held on for the win. “It’s unbelievable, it’s crazy, it’s hard to believe right now,” Rotter-Focken said. “I need time, a few years, for it to sink in.”
The day’s biggest surprise came in the bronze medal bouts, which Turkey’s Yasemin Adar and China’s Zhou Qian won by pinning their respective opponents. Adar, the first Turkish woman to win a wrestling medal at the Olympics, had pinned Tunisia’s Zaineb Sghaier in the repechage match, and did the same against Kyrgyzstan’s Aiperi Kyzy while Zhou pinned Japan’s Hiroe Minagawa.
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