Japan’s Icho captures historic wrestling gold
Story Dated: Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:0 hrs IST
London: Kaori Icho's cold, tense stare never broke as he wiped out opponent after helpless opponent.
It was only when Icho sealed her third straight Olympic gold medal that she showed just how relieved she was to have done it again.
Icho won the women's 63-kilogram freestyle division Wednesday at the London Games, becoming the first Japanese woman to capture the same event in three straight Olympics.
Icho beat Ruixue Jing of China 3-0, 2-0, her latest victory in a 72-match winning streak.
Shortly after winning, a beaming Icho pumped her fist to the large contingent of Japanese fans who had chanted her name during the final.
Icho's intimidating gaze was gone, replaced by smiles, waves and the obligatory medal display to the crowd.
"I feel I have big responsibility in fighting at the Olympic Games," Icho said. "I burst into happiness just after I finished fighting. Thanks to the people who supported me, they helped me win," Icho said.
Hitomi Obara made it a sweep for Japan, winning her first Olympic gold medal in women's 48-kilogram freestyle wrestling by rallying to beat Mariya Stadnyk of Azerbaijan 0-4, 1-0, 2-0.
Carol Huynh of Canada and Clarissa Chun of the United States won bronze, with Chun giving the US its first wrestling medal of the London Games.
As for Icho, she joined Russian legend Alexander Karelin are the only wrestlers to win three straight golds in a specific weight class.
She didn't look like the massive Karelin in her bright white shoes and a light blue singlet featuring a glowing golden tiger.
But after allowing Martine Dugrenier of Canada to score a point on her in the opener, Icho exerted her will on the field.