TOKYO, Japan — Anastasija Zolotic won the United States’ first gold medal in women’s taekwondo by beating Russian athlete Tatiana Minina 25-17 to claim the featherweight division title.
The 18-year-old Zolotic lets out a primal scream as she pulls on her helmet before each round. The Largo, Florida, native has been telling friends and family since early childhood that she would be an Olympic champion and she needed only one trip to the Games to make it happen.
Zolotic and Minina had a high-scoring first round and a tactical second but Zolotic picked apart her Russian opponent in the third with two-point body kicks after nursing a one-point lead into the final round.
Zolotic was only the fourth American to reach an Olympic taekwondo final and only the second woman. Steven Lopez won the U.S. team’s only two previous Olympic golds in taekwondo.
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