She can now stake her claim as the best female freestyle wrestler ever.
Saori Yoshida of Japan, who had only lost twice since 2002, claimed her third gold medal in the 55 kg wrestling final at the Olympics Thursday. Yoshida had shut out all of her opponents in London; with no one able to score a point on her.
The only other woman to hold three gold medals in wrestling at the Olympics is her fellow countrywoman Kaori Icho, who won the 63 kg gold Wednesday. Their teammate Hitomi Obara took the 48 kg title to nearly get the gold medal sweep in the women’s wrestling divisions.
Ekaterina Bukina of Russia played spoiler, pinning Stanka Zlateva of Bulgaria in the 72 kg weight class to get the only wrestling women’s gold not held by the Japanese.
Canada’s Tonya Verbeek battled tooth and nail through the tournament to make it to the final with Yoshida, which was a rematch of their 2004 Athens Olympic final. Verbeek would find herself with the same fate, as she took silver once again. She joins the Japanese competitors in having three Olympic medals. Besides her two silvers, she took bronze in Beijing in 2008.
Gold - Saori Yoshida (JPN)
Silver - Tonya Verbeek (CAN)
Bronze - Jackeline Rentería (COL)
Bronze - Yuliya Ratkevich (AZE)
Gold - Ekaterina Bukina (RUS)
Silver - Stanka Zlateva (BUL)
Bronze - Guzel Manyurova (KAZ)
Bronze - Maider Unda (ESP)