Greco-Roman wrestling took on some Cuban flair on Monday, as Mijain Lopez won his third consecutive Olympic gold, equalling the record set by Russian legend Aleksandr Karelin.
Lopez took the gold in a dominating 6-0 win over reigning world champion Riza Kayaalp of Turkey to match Karelin’s feat — the Russian won golds at the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Games.
The Cuban first celebrated by doing a salsa-infused, hip-shimmy dance in the middle of the mat. The 1.98m giant then body-slammed his coach when he came running up to congratulate him, and then hoisted him in the air like a small child. Lopez also did an extended lap of honour taking selfies with Cuban fans.
“My dance just came natural to me, we are in Brazil and you have to dance, it's normal,” he said. “I’m so proud of reaching the same level of the great Karelin, this is just a tremendous honour,” said Lopez, 33.
Russia’s Davit Chakvetadze took the gold in the 85kg class. He was losing 2-0 after the first period, but then put on a dominating display to win 9-2 over the current world champion Zhan Belenyuk of Ukraine.
Weightlifter Ruslan Nurudinov, known as the “Pride of Uzbekistan”, struck gold in the men’s 105kg class with an Olympic record on Monday.
The 24-year-old raised a combined total of 431kg above his head to win by a massive 14kg over 19-year-old silver medallist Simon Martirosyan of Armenia. Kazakhstan’s Alexandr Zaichikov, who served a doping ban from 2013 to 2015, claimed bronze with 416.
Nurudinov, who already had gold assured, lifted 237kg in the clean and jerk to set a new Olympic record. Afterwards he sank to his knees, roared and burst into tears.
In boxing, towering Russian Evgeny Tishchenko added the 91kg Olympic gold to his world and European titles on Monday as he defeated Kazakhstan’s Vassiliy Levit to cement his status at the best amateur heavyweight on the planet.
But it was a deeply controversial decision and loud boos rang out in the crowd after the announcement was made that the judges had surprisingly given Tishchenko the win on unanimous points.
Rustam Tulaganov of Uzbekistan and Cuba’s Erislandy Savon each took home bronze.
Viviani recovers to win gold
Italy’s Elia Viviani recovered from a crash before breaking down in floods of tears in his parents’ arms after winning the Olympic cycling men’s omnium gold. Viviani was consistently strong over the two-day, six-event race and beat British road sprint star Mark Cavendish into second, with 2012 gold medallist Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark third.
The Italian suffered a fall a third of the way into the final event, the 40km points race, which was caused by Cavendish and saw South Korean Park Sanghoon suffer burns and bruises, ending with a trip to hospital.
Charlotte Dujardin won her third Olympic dressage gold medal, watched by her fiancé who made good on a longstanding marriage proposal by scrawling ‘Can we get married now?’ on his shirt.
Dujardin (on Valegro), finished ahead of the German duo of Isabell Werth (Weiheigold) and Kristina Broring-Sprehe (Desperados).
The 31-year-old Dujardin also won silver in the team event last week and was a double gold medallist at the London Games four years ago.