Kaori Icho emerged victorious from a thrilling gold medal match to win her fourth-straight Olympic title Wednesday.
With the win, Icho has become the first wrestler to ever win four Olympic titles. She is also the first woman in any sport to win gold in an individual event at four Olympics.
In the 58kg gold medal match with Russia's Valeria Koblova, Icho found herself in an unfamiliar position, trailing late in the match. Behind 2-1 with the clock ticking down, Icho got ahold of the Russian and desperately tried to manipulate her opponent to get a score. The referee finally awarded a two-point score to Icho with less than five seconds on the clock, giving her a dramatic 3-2 win.
It was the second gold medal of the day for Japan in women's wrestling. About an hour earlier, teammate Eri Tosaka won an Olympic title at 48kg in similarly dramatic fashion.
Over the years, Icho has been a linchpin for Japan's historically-dominant women's wrestling team. Ever since women's divisions were added to the Olympic wrestling program in 2004, she has earned gold in her weight class. In addition to her Olympic hardware, Icho has accrued 10 world titles and won 189 consecutive matches over a 13-year period from 2003-2016.
Her teammate Saori Yoshida has been just as dominant and can match Icho's feat of four gold medals when she competes in the women's 53kg tournament on Thursday.
The two 58kg bronze medal matches also provided exciting last-second victories. Tunisia's Marwa Amri and India's Sakshi Malik both won thanks to buzzer-beating scores.
Trailing 3-2, Amri scored a four-point takedown on Azerbaijan's Yuliya Ratkevich with less than 10 seconds left to win the match 6-3.
Sakashi's winning score came with even less time on the clock. With the match tied 5-5 but her opponent – Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan – leading on criteria, Sakashi scored two points right as time expired to take the lead. A failed challenge from her opponent made the final score 8-5.
Women's 58kg quarterfinals
Icho (JPN) wins 3-1 vs. Yesilrmak (TUR)
Ratkevich (AZE) wins 7-3 vs. Renteria (COL)
Tynybekova (KGZ) wins 14-7 vs. Olli (FIN)
Koblova (RUS) wins 9-2 Malik (IND)
Women's 58kg semifinals
Icho (JPN) wins by tech fall 10-0 vs. Ratkevich (AZE)
Koblova (RUS) wins 4-1 vs. Tynybekova (KGZ)
Women's 58kg repechage matches
Purevdorj (MGL) wins by fall (2:13) vs. Niemesch (GER)
Amri (TUN) wins 3-2 vs. Yesilrmak (TUR)
Malik (IND) wins 12-3 vs. Purevdorj (MGL)
Women's 58kg Bronze Medal Matches
Amri (TUN) wins 6-3 vs. Ratkevich (AZE)
Malik (IND) wins 8-5 vs. Tynybekova (KGZ)
Women's 58kg Gold Medal Match
Icho (JPN) wins 3-2 vs. Koblova (RUS)