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Park In-bee, heading up the Korean armada on the Barra da Tijuca golf course, lived up to the hopes of an entire nation and won the gold medal, becoming the first female Olympic golf champion since the USA’s Margaret Abbott in 1900. In the lead since the end of the second round, the world no. 5 finished the final day five under par to end with a five-stroke lead over the world no.1, New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, who took silver, and a six-stroke lead over China’s Feng Shanshan, the world no.14, who finished the historic tournament with bronze. “I feel extremely honoured and proud that I get to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games. It feels truly unreal. I have won many tournaments but I have never felt this before. I really enjoyed being out here,” said Park. She became only the second female Olympic golf champion in history, after Margaret Abbott, who claimed gold on the Compiègne course at the second Games of the modern era in Paris, on 4 October 1900!
Ultimately, it was Brazil who emerged victorious from the lottery of the penalty shootout: Neymar converted the winning penalty and secured the football-obsessed nation its first-ever Olympic title in the final against Germany (1-1 after extra time, 5-4 on penalties). The Maracanã erupted with joy and Neymar himself was overcome with emotion. The captain had lived up to the demands of his role, following an incredibly intense match. The first eight players all successfully converted their spot-kicks, before Weverton, the Brazilian goalkeeper, saved Petersen’s effort. Neymar, 24, who had already scored during normal time with a sumptuous free-kick on 27 minutes, before Germany equalised through Max Meyer in the 59th minute, stepped up to take the most important penalty of his life. An enormous responsibility. Brazil finally earned Olympic gold with this historic title after three defeats in the final, including in 2012. The victory sparked scenes of wild celebration in the legendary stadium, and Neymar fell to his knees in tears and was swamped by his team-mates. “This is one of the best things that has happened in my life,” said the national hero.
Great Britain’s Mo Farah took gold in the 5,000m and realised his ultimate dream – a 10,000m/5,000m Olympic double-double, after the first one in London in 2012. In doing so, he followed in the footsteps of Finland’s Lasse Viren, who achieved the same feat in 1972 and 1976! “To be honest I can't believe it. When [Ethiopia’s] Kenenisa Bekele won all those medals I said I just want one. If you have dreams they can come true and I always wanted to achieve these for my kids because for so much of the year you don't see them, and you want to show them something, or rather the reason for the absences,” said the four-time Olympic champion and four-time world champion, who did the double-double in the World Championships in 2013 and 2015. On the blue track of the Olympic Stadium, Farah finished strongly on the final lap to win in 13:03.30, beating the USA’s Paul Chelimo (13:03.90) and Ethiopia’s a href="~/link.aspx?_id=796F3B623330417FB40E84ECDCFBC310&_z=z">Hagos Gebrhiwet (13:04.35). The final sprint for a podium position led to a mini-tussle and even temporary disqualification for Chelimo. Farah, though, was already well ahead by that stage.
Allyson Felix scaled new heights in the list of women’s athletics greats by winning the sixth Olympic gold medal of her career in the 4x400m. In doing so, she equalled Jamaican Merlene Ottey’s record in terms of number of medals (nine), but Ottey never managed to win gold at the Games. Having won silver in the 400m and been part of the victorious US 4x100m relay team the previous evening, Felix ran the final lap, after Courtney Okolo, Natasha Hastings and Phyllis Francis, to give her team an overall time of 3:19.06. She successfully held off the challenge of Novlene Williams-Mills, the final relay runner for Jamaica (3:20.34), while Great Britain took bronze (3:25.88). “It’s really special,” Felix said. “I can look back on the things that I’ve accomplished and really be proud and really grateful for what track and field has brought to my life.”
A short while later, the US men’s relay team (Arman Hall, Tony McQuay, Gil Roberts and LaShawn Merritt) followed suit by also claiming gold, defeating Jamaica and the Bahamas, who lost the title they had won in London in 2012. Victory in the men’s 4x400m gave the USA its 31st athletics medal in Rio and its 13th on the track of the Olympic Stadium.
Caster Semenya’s brilliant performance saw her clinch gold in the women’s 800m. The 25-year-old South African was in control of the final from the beginning, letting Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba lead the race up to the 600-metre mark before pulling ahead of her rivals with an injection of pace. “My coach told me to be patient and wait for the right moment. The field was really good. It was fantastic to race with such great athletes,” said Semenya. “I’m just really happy to win gold.” Setting a new national record with a time of 1:55.28, she finished ahead of Niyonsaba (1:56.49) and Kenya’s Margaret Wambui (1:56.89).
Thomas Röhler gave the German delegation reason to be cheerful again – after the Mannschaft were defeated in the football final against Brazil – with a magnificent performance that brought Germany its first gold medal in the javelin in 80 years! He threw 90.30m on his fifth attempt to move out of the reach of his rivals, primarily Kenya’s Julius Yego (88.24m) and defending champion Keshorn Walcott (85.83m) from Trinidad and Tobago. “I woke up with the right feeling this morning. I was feeling maybe it's the right day for me,” explained Röhler. “I was quite excited to throw. I know how to throw 90m and I did it today – 90.30 is really far.”
At 37, Ruth Beitia became Spain’s oldest female Olympic champion and the first-ever Spanish woman to take gold in an athletics event, after winning the high jump. The top four athletes all cleared 1.97m, but Beitia claimed gold based on number of attempts, ahead of Bulgaria’s Mirela Demireva and Croatia’s Blanka Vlašić. “I'm aware that I’m 37 years old,” said Beitia. “I think I'm one of the oldest women to win an Olympic gold medal. Of course, I'm very proud to still be continuing up to now. Even at my age, I have the same enthusiasm and happiness.”
The USA’s Matthew Centrowitz won gold in the 1,500m after a relatively slow-paced race that he led from start to finish. He became the first American champion over this distance since 1908! With none of the finalists seemingly wanting to go for it and the favourites all keeping tabs on each other, Centrowitz took his chance. “After the first 800m when nobody went around me, we were in the later part of the race and I thought now I can’t let anyone around me.” He won in a time of 3:50.00, ahead of Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi (3:50.11), who secured his second podium finish in Rio having also won silver in the 800m, and New Zealand’s Nicholas Willis (who finished third in 3:50.24).
The Americans won their sixth consecutive Olympic title on the court of the Carioca 1 Arena, crushing Spain 101-72. Since 1992, over a 24-year period, the USA had not lost a match at the Olympic Games, and they were not about to do so here. Serbia clinched the bronze medal after getting the better of France (70-63). After a slow start in a difficult opening quarter, the Americans went on to produce a masterclass. Lindsay Whalen (17 pts), Maya Moore (14 pts) and Diana Taurasi (17 pts), along with their team-mates, were operating on another level. The win meant that Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings, who had been part of each of the successful American campaigns since 2004, equalled the medal hauls of former basketball greats Teresa Edwards and Lisa Leslie, with four Olympic titles each. “There's a lot of emotion, especially for Sue, Diana and Tamika,” said US coach Geno Auriemma.
Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez, gold medallist in the bantamweight category (-56kg) at the Youth Olympic Games Singapore 2010 and then in the flyweight (-52kg) in London in 2012, returned to the bantamweight to claim victory in Rio, narrowly beating the USA’s Shakur Stevenson 2-1 in the final. Ramirez made his experience count to win the first round, but lost the second, meaning that the scores were level at the start of the third round. The three scorecards that counted had him winning the final 10-9, 9-10, 10-9.
Half an hour later, Arlen Lopez gave Cuba its third medal in the ring at the Riocentro 6 Pavilion. In the final of the men’s middleweight (-75kg), a rematch of the 2015 AIBA World Championship final, he showed his class against Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev, winning 3-0. “The only thing left is to do it again in four years,” said Lopez.
The first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal, in 2012, became the first to repeat the feat when Great Britain’s Nicola Adams retained her flyweight title (-51kg), beating France’s Sarah Ourahmoune in the final. Adams had fought the Frenchwoman on several previous occasions, winning every time. Fighting out of the red corner, the Briton was clearly ahead in a brisk first round and used her longer reach to good effect in the second. The third saw Ourahmoune getting in some combinations to narrow the gap, but it was all too late, and Adams won the bout 3-0. “I’m absolutely over the moon. I’m now the most accomplished amateur boxer that Britain has ever had. It’s a nice title to have. It’s been an amazing journey. It's always tricky when you’ve boxed someone so many times. They know a lot of your movements so you have to keep changing things up through the bout,” said Adams.
The men's modern pentathlon ended with victory for Russia’s Aleksander Lesun, who had led from start to finish. He started the competition by setting an Olympic record in the fencing phase (28 wins in 35 attempts) and held his lead to take gold, making up for a disappointing fourth-place finish in London four years ago. Lesun crossed the combined shooting/running finish line seven seconds ahead of silver-medallist Pavlo Tymoshchenko of Ukraine, setting a new Olympic record of 1,479 points overall. Mexico’s Ismael Hernández Uscanga took bronze.
Chen Aisen claimed the top spot in the men's 10m platform event to help China take home seven out of eight diving golds in Rio. Chen, at his first Olympic Games, had already won gold in the synchronised 10m platform with Lin Yue, and showed consistency throughout his dives in this event, gaining high scores to total 585.30 with his tight spins and clean entries into the water even as his rivals, including team-mate Qiu Bo, stumbled. Mexico’s Germán Sánchez and the USA’s David Boudia took silver and bronze respectively. China took all but one of the diving golds at the Maria Lenk pool, losing out in the men's 3m springboard synchronised event, where they took bronze instead, as Great Britain triumphed.
Serbia's 2015 world champion men's water polo team defeated arch rivals and defending champions Croatia 11-7 to win their first Olympic gold medal in the sport. In a water polo final characterised by determined play in front of both goals, Serbia showed superiority in finishing their chances. Dusan Mandic scored four times, while goalkeeper Branislav Mitrovic's impressive blocks kept Croatia out. Two goals came from Filip Filipovic, a veteran of two past Serbian Olympic teams, each of which won bronze. He was voted the most valuable player of the tournament. “Let’s say we wanted this from the beginning of our careers. We trained so hard, and we suffered so much. We really have some great talent and some magnificent players,” he explained. Italy, who reached the final in London in 2012, won the bronze medal, beating Montenegro 12-10.
A display full of elegance and grace allowed Margarita Mamun from Russia to land individual all-around gold ahead of her compatriot Yana Kudryavtseva, the triple world champion in the discipline, in the Rio Olympic Arena. Kudryavtseva was cruising until the clubs routine, when she failed to cleanly make one of her catches. This allowed Mamun to overtake her, and the ribbon routine took Mamun’s total score to 76.483 points, ahead of Kudryavtseva’s 75.608 and Ukrainian bronze medallist Ganna Rizatdinova’s 73.583. Mamun was delighted – and extremely surprised – by her superb victory.
As expected, the USA’s Gwen Jorgensen was crowned Olympic triathlon champion on Copacabana beach after finishing ahead of Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig, the defending champion, and Great Britain’s Vicky Holland. The reigning double world champion, who had gone undefeated for two years, weathered the storm on the bike course – the only part of the race where her rivals thought she might be there for the taking – and broke clear with Spirig for the 10km run. Both champions seemed to be waiting for the other to make a move, with neither wanting to lead, before Jorgensen accelerated 2km from the finish line and won by 40 seconds. Great Britain’s Holland took bronze after beating team-mate Non Stanford in a sprint finish. Asked about how she had coped with the “favourite” tag, an emotional Jorgensen said: “It's better to have that than to have to scramble at the last minute, to change things. I knew if I kept doing what I've been doing, hopefully it would work out." Spirig, meanwhile, became the first female triathlete to win two medals at the Olympic Games.
Sweden’s Jenny Rissveds raced away from her rivals, Poland’s Maja Wloszczowska and Canada’s Catharine Pendrel, with a confident final loop to take gold in the women’s cross-country cycling in Deodoro. Rissveds was in a two-way battle with Wloszczowska as the bell rang for the final circuit of the rolling 4.85km course, but broke her resistance with a powerful attack. The Swedish rider pulled away quickly, smoothly tackling the challenging Rio Rocks and Flip Flop sections of the layout, before sprinting to the finish line. She finished 37 seconds ahead of Wloszczowska and more than one minute ahead of Pendrel. “At the start line today, I tried to focus and have some great fun, stay cool and just race my bike. This is for sure the biggest achievement in my career. It’s just unbelievable,” said Rissveds, who became Sweden’s second Olympic champion in Rio after swimmer Sarah Sjöström’s victory in the 100m butterfly.
Russia’s women’s handball team won their first-ever Olympic gold, beating France 22-19 in the final, as two-time winners and defending champions Norway beat the Netherlands 36-26 to take bronze. Silver medallists in Beijing in 2008, Russia had not secured a podium finish in any competition since the most recent of their four world titles, which they won against France in 2009. France’s silver medal in Rio was the country’s first-ever Olympic medal in women’s handball. The final took a while to burst into life, with the Russians ahead during much of the game. “The game was just a bit beyond our reach,” said French coach Olivier Krumbholtz. “We were the best team and we really believed in it, the whole group. It means everything for my sporting life. This is everything I have lived for,” said Anna Vyakhireva, the joint highest scorer in the final with five goals.
At least one member of every gold-winning crew on the final day of the canoe sprint competition became a multi-medallist, with Danuta Kozák earning her third Rio gold and the sixth Olympic medal of her sporting career – a feat matched by just two other kayakers before her. After winning the women's K4 500m, she became the first female paddler to achieve three golds in the same Games (following her victories in the K1 500m and the K2 500m). Kozák and team-mates Gabriella Szabo, Tamara Csipes and Krisztina Fazekas-Zur finished in 1:31.482, ahead of silver medal-winning Germany, who were 0.901 seconds behind. Germany’s Tina Dietze and Franziska Weber were also silver medallists in the K2 500m event on 16 August. Bronze went to Belarus, who finished 2.426 seconds behind the Hungarians. “I’m very happy. I think I need some time until I believe it,” said Kozák.
Germany’s Sebastian Brendel picked up a second gold medal in the men’s canoe double (C2) 1,000m, winning together with partner Jan Vandrey. The medal followed Brendel’s win in the men's canoe single (C1) 1,000m earlier in the week. Brendel felt elated and relieved after his second gold in Rio: “It’s a tough, tough race and it's amazing that we could win the race. I’m just happy that the competition is over for me and I’m standing here with two gold medals.” Brazil’s Isaquias Queiroz and Erlon Silva, who had led for most of the race, took silver, 0.907 seconds behind the champions, while Dmytro Ianchuk and Taras Mishchuk of Ukraine took bronze.
Not content with their men's K2 1,000m Olympic title in Rio, German paddlers Max Rendschmidt and Marcus Gross also took gold in the men's K4 1,000m, along with team-mates Tom Liebscher and Max Hoff. After winning his second gold in Rio, Gross said: “I know the feeling, but it's great to do it in the K4. It's unbelievable.” The crews from Slovakia – almost three seconds behind – and the Czech Republic took silver and bronze respectively.
Great Britain’s Liam Heath, meanwhile, who won silver in the men’s K2 200m with team-mate Jon Schofield, shone individually, winning gold in the final of the K1 200m. France’s Maxime Beaumont came in behind in second place. Spain’s Saul Craviotto, who had already taken gold in the K2 200m, had to settle for bronze. In an extremely tight finish, Germany’s veteran paddler Ronald Rauhe ended his Olympic career by tying with Craviotto for third with an identical time.
Taking up the baton from Lin Dan, Chen Long became the new Olympic badminton champion, with Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei again falling victim to the Chinese curse in the final of the men’s singles. China’s Chen, the two-time reigning world champion, was majestic throughout the match, and ended up winning by two sets to love (21-18, 21-18). Having led the badminton rankings almost continuously between 2008 and 2014, world no.1 Lee, 33, again stumbled at the final hurdle. Just as he had done at the two previous editions of the Olympic Games in Beijing and London, against Lin, and in four World Championship finals, twice against Lin, twice against Chen. “I didn’t think I’d win gold at the Games like this,” said the new Olympic champion – a bronze medal-winner in London in 2012 – who threw his racket and shirt into the stands towards the large contingent of celebrating Chinese supporters.
Both of the men's freestyle finals – which took place on the evening before the Closing Ceremony – were rematches of previous World Championship finals, and they ended with the same results. Two-time world champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev won the men’s 86kg final as convincingly as he had defeated opponents in earlier rounds. The Russian produced yet another shutout to win 5-0 against Selim Yasar of Turkey, whom he also beat to win the world title in 2015. “It was my dream since my childhood to be an Olympic champion,” said the 20-year-old Russian.
In the men’s 125kg category, two-time world champion Taha Akgül picked up Turkey’s first wrestling gold medal in Rio, defeating London 2012 bronze medallist Komeil Nemat Ghasemi of Iran 3-1, in a repeat of the 2014 World Championship final. “I’ve completed the whole series. I’m the last European and world champion, and now I’m an Olympic champion. I will try to do it again and keep going on to the next Olympics,” said Akgül.
Azerbaijan’s Radik Isaev, reigning world champion in the -87kg category, faced Niger’s Abdoulrazak Issoufou Alfaga in the men's +80kg final. The bout started slowly with no score in the first round, but Isaev mastered a head-kick in round two and another in round three to win 6-2. Bronze went to Brazil’s Maicon de Andrade Siqueira and South Korea’s Cha Dong-min, who returned to the podium after winning the competition at the Beijing Games in 2008.
China’s Zheng Shuyin won gold in the women's +67kg category. The world silver medallist in the 73kg was up against Mexico’s María del Rosario Espinoza, a two-time Olympic medallist. The tall Zheng used her height to distance her opponent and controlled the match to win 5-1. World champion Bianca Walkden of Great Britain succumbed to Zhen in the semi-finals, but recovered to take bronze. The other bronze medal went to the USA’s Jackie Galloway, who beat France’s Gwladys Epangue, the Beijing 2008 bronze medallist and double world champion.