Kaori Icho makes Olympic wrestling history on golden night for Japan

Icho is the first athlete to win four gold medals in wrestling.

Story highlights

  • Kaori Icho wins fourth Olympic gold
  • First female to win individual golds in four different Games
  • Takes 58kg freestyle wrestling title
  • Sakshi Malik wins India's first medal of Games

(CNN)When it comes to wrestling, nobody messes with Kaori Icho.

The Japanese star became the first female athlete to win a gold medal in individual events at four different Olympic Games after taking the 58kg freestyle wrestling title at Rio 2016.
    Icho, a 10-time world champion, left it late to defeat Russia's Valeria Koblova, recording a two-point score with just five seconds of the contest remaining.
    Icho has won Olympic gold in each of her four appearances at the Games.
    Wednesday's triumph also means Icho becomes the first athlete to win four Olympic golds in wrestling while she joins a list of five other athletes who have have won gold medals in individual events at four Olympic Games, including Carl Lewis and Michael Phelps.
    Incredibly, Icho suffered her first wrestling defeat in 13-years in January. The Olympic champion at 63kg in 2004, 2008 and 2012, was beaten in a 58kg bout by Mongolian student Orkhon Purevdorj, 21.
    But any thoughts her opponents might have had of beating her to gold in the Rio 58kg were quickly extinguished.
    "I grabbed her from behind," she said of her winning move in the final.
    "I didn't aim at counterattacking at all, it was just natural."
    Icho was one of three Japanese women to win wrestling gold on a stunning night of success for the country..
    Eri Tosaka, a three-time world champion, defeated Azerbaijan's Mariya Stadnik in the 48kg final, while Sara Dosho overcame Russia's Natalia Vorobeva in the 69kg category.
    "We believed, we trained the most compared to the other countries -- we proudly won today," Dosho said of Japan's success.
    "We convinced ourselves to win gold medals, and that mental strength prevailed
    India's Malik celebrated after winning bronze in Rio.
    There was also a first medal of the Games for India with Sakshi Malik taking bronze in the 58kg weight.
    She is the fourth woman to win a medal for India in any sport at the Olympics -- all of which have been bronze.
    "I had hope at least that I could win a medal, that's why I attacked," Malik told reporters.
    "I was confident until the win. I earned this after a lot of hard work."