Lopez leads Cuban gold rush with Greco-Roman fourth crown
Cuban Mijain Lopez finished his fifth Olympics with a record-breaking fourth gold medal after winning the Greco-Roman super-heavyweight final yesterday, minutes after compatriot Luis Alberto Orta won gold in the category of bantam-weight.
Lopez, who made his Olympic debut in 2004 and is the first male wrestler to win four Olympic gold medals, was calm and composed in his fight against silver-winning Georgian Iakobi Kajaia.
At Rio 2016, Lopez celebrated with a salsa-infused hip-shimmy dance, but this time the 38-year-old was content to tackle his coach who had sprinted across the mat with the Cuban flag.
“I feel happy, proud to be the best in the world and to make history,” said Lopez, who was congratulated by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on a video call. “I have had a long career, working hard to achieve these goals and break this record.”
Lopez took a 3-0 lead into the break with an adjustable wrench and a turn and made it 5-0 with a point out before Kajaia conceded with 10 seconds left.
Orta defeated Kenichiro Fumita of Japan 5-1 in the Greco-Roman bantamweight final.
“I immediately thought of my two-month-old daughter when I won the gold medal. It’s for her, ”Orta said. Turkey’s Riza Kayaalp won her third Olympic medal in the Greco-Roman super-heavyweight bronze fight, beating Iranian Amin Mirzazadeh with a series of powerful turns to score points.
Kayaalp rolled the 130kg Iranian like a rag doll across the mat to take a 7-0 lead at the break, eventually winning 7-2. The other bronze medal match was a more even match between Sergei Semenov and Chilean Yasmani Acosta, finishing 1-1, but it was the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) wrestler who took the win after scoring the last technical point.
Chinese Walihan Sailike and ROC Sergey Emelin won the Greco-Roman bronze medals in bantamweight.
ROTTER-FOCKEN WINS GOLD
The women’s heavyweight freestyle title went to Germany’s Aline Rotter-Focken, who beat five-time world champion of the United States Adeline Gray 7-3 in the final. It was her country’s very first gold medal in women’s wrestling.
Gray went for the legs at the end of the first period, but the momentum backfired when she fell onto her back as Rotter-Focken blocked to take a 3-0 lead.
Rotter-Focken scored four runs shortly after the break when she knocked down Gray from a standing position. Gray pulled out with 40 seconds left for almost 7-3, but the German held on for the win. “It’s amazing, it’s crazy, it’s hard to believe right now,” said Rotter-Focken. “I need time, a few years, for this to sink in.”
The biggest surprise of the day came from the fights for the bronze medal, won by the Turkish Yasemin Adar and the Chinese Zhou Qian by pinning their respective opponents. Adar, the first Turkish woman to win a wrestling medal at the Olympics, pinned Tunisian Zaineb Sghaier in the repechage match, and did the same against Kyrgyzstan Aiperi Kyzy while Zhou pinned the Japanese Hiroe Minagawa.