Anastasija Zolotic entered these Olympics as a young taekwondo star and she'll be leaving the Tokyo games as the first American woman to win gold in the sport.
The eighteen-year-old beat Russia's Tatiana Minina in the under fifty-seven kilograms category at Makuhari Messe Hall twenty-five-seventeen, using a rather aggressive 1st round to set the tone, and strategic strikes in the 3rd to secure her win.
Zolotic is one of the USA's rising stars, winning a gold medal at junior worlds and a silver in the Youth Olympics. Her biggest achievement had been Pan Am gold, that's until she competed in Tokyo.
Britain's Jade Jones, who won the past 2 Olympic golds, lost in the round of sixteen. Korea's Ah-Reum Lee has a world championship gold and bronze since competing in the Rio Olympics but also lost in the round of sixteen.
Zolotic beat Turkey's Hatice Kubra Ilgun, who is ranked as number 2 in the world, in the quarter-finals.
In the final, Zolotic competed against Tatiana Minina, who is ranked 4th in the world. Both Zolotic and Minina landed 1 head kick each and 2 trunk kicks in the 1st seventy seconds.
Zolotic finally pulled away with 3 trunk kicks and a penalty point that extended her lead to twenty-three-fourteen. Minina landed 1 head kick and tried for several more with moments left, but Zolotic kicked Minina in the trunk as time ran out, solidifying her win.
Zolotic posted to her Instagram after the win: "DID SOMEONE SAY OLYMPIC CHAMPION????? WHAT A DAY😦 A GOLD medal at the OLYMPIC GAMES….. what a dream🥇🥇🥇 Thank you to everyone for your support and love throughout the day, honestly couldn't have done it without you all💕 AND TO MY AMAZING COACH FOR HELPING ME ACHIEVE THIS🙏💪🏼Making history each step of the way….. GO TEAM USA 🇺🇸" she wrote with excitement.
Earlier on that day, she also posted a photo captioned: "Hoping today ends in laughter and joy! The link is in my bio for anyone who wants to watch the -57kgs and -68kgs divisions :)"
Well done Zolotic, you deserve it!