Olympics: Icho grabs historic fourth wrestling gold as Japan's women dominate

Japan's Kaori Icho celebrates on the podium after winning after winning in the women's 58kg freestyle wrestling event on August 17.
Japan's Kaori Icho celebrates on the podium after winning after winning in the women's 58kg freestyle wrestling event on August 17. PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Kaori Icho grabbed a slice of Olympic history as Japan swept all three women's wrestling gold medals on offer at Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.

Icho became the first woman in any sport to win four gold medals in individual events across four Games with her victory over Russian Valeriia Koblova Zholobova in the women's freestyle 58kg final.

Icho joined five men to have won gold medals in individual events at four straight Olympics. Swimmer Michael Phelps and athletes Carl Lewis and Al Oerter all claimed the same individual event at four Games in a row.

Sailors Ben Ainslie and Paul Elvstrom also won four individual golds on the trot but in different classes.

Icho, 32, won her previous three golds in 2004, 2008 and 2012 in the 63kg category.

The 10-time world champion scored late to overcome the 23-year-old Russian.

"My opponent came in for a tackle (at the end) so I thought that was my last chance to score," she said. "I'm happy it worked."

There was drama, too, in wins for Sara Dosho and Eri Tosaka.

Treble world champion Tosaka got the ball rolling for Japan at the Carioca Arena, coming from behind to beat 2012 silver medallist Mariya Stadnyk of Azerbaijan with a two-point throwdown with seconds remaining.

Dosho won gold in her Olympic debut, stunning Olympic and world champion Natalia Vorobeva of Russia in the 69kg final.

Dosho produced a two-point takedown in the final minute of the match to level the score at 2-2, and won the match on criteria.