Japan Sweeps 1st Day of Women's Wrestling Golds, 1 Makes History

Kaori Icho won a record fourth straight Olympic title

Japan has swept the gold medals on the first day of the Olympic women's wrestling tournament in Rio, with Kaori Icho becoming the first wrestler in Olympic history to win four gold medals.

Icho and Eri Tosaka claimed their titles before Sara Dosho rallied to beat fourth-ranked Natalia Vorobeva of Russia in the 69 kilograms on a takedown with 30 seconds to go in the last match of the day.

Icho scored her own late takedown, with less than five seconds left, to beat Russia's Valeriia Koblova Zholobova 3-2 in 58-kilogram women's freestyle.

Icho also is the first woman to win an individual gold medal in four straight Olympics, having started her historic run at the inaugural women's tournament in Athens in 2004.

Russia's Alexander Karelin leads the short list of men with three wrestling golds.

Icho's teammate, Saori Yoshida, will try to match Icho's four consecutive golds Thursday.

Sakshi Malik won bronze to give India its first medal of the Rio Games.

Icho advanced to the final gold medal match against Koblova after earlier beating Tunisia's Marwa Amri, Turkey's Elif Jale Yesilirmak and Azerbaijan's Yulia Ratkevich. 

Outside of Olympic competition, Icho has been equally as dominant. She has collected 10 world titles and did not lose a match for nearly 13 years.

Her winning streak, which had reached 189 consecutive matches, finally ended in January. The Mongolian who beat her, Orkhon Purevdorj, was among the wrestlers looking to dethrone her in Rio.

While Icho will leave Rio as a champion, American Haley Augello, the world's No. 17, may wonder what could have been.

The world's No. 17 wrestler's medal hopes were dashed by Kazakhstan’s Zhuldyz Eshimova-Turtbayeva in the second round of the repechage.

Augello dropped a 3-2 decision to Eshimova-Turtbayeva in a match which saw both wrestlers spend much of the match struggling to gain position.

Eshimova-Turtbayeva had a 1-0 lead after the first round due to Augello being penalized, and the advantage grew to 3-0 midway through the second, before Augello took her down before time ran out.

The Illinois native defeated Jessica Blaszka of the Netherlands in the Round of 16 7-0 to advance to the 48kg quarterfinals. But she next lost to three-time defending world champion Eri Tosaka, of Japan.

Tosaka went on to beat her next opponent, giving Augello a shot at bronze. Had Augello defeated Eshimova-Turtbayeva, she would have had to beat China's Sun Yanan in order to medal.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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