Brazil Wins First Men’s Soccer Olympic Gold
Host Brazil beat Germany on penalties in Rio to win their first men’s Olympic soccer gold medal and send the soccer-mad nation into ecstasy.
August 20 was also a very good day for Russia, which took four more gold medals as the Olympics neared an end.
In front of 78,000 fans at Rio’s Maracana Stadium, Neymar fired the winning penalty as Brazil beat Germany 5-4 on penalties.
“That’s it,” Barcelona forward Neymar said. “We made history.”
Jubilant celebrations broke out across Rio, with drivers of cars and trucks hooting and crowds screaming after the victory.
The game had finished 1-1 after extra time.
Two years ago in Brazil, the Brazilian team suffered its heaviest-ever World Cup defeat as Germany beat the five-time World Cup champions 7-1 in the semifinals.
Nigeria won their first medal of the 2016 Olympics as they beat Honduras 3-2 in the bronze-medal match.
Meanwhile, Russia’s female handball players are bringing home their first-ever Olympic gold medal after defeating France 22-19.
“I think I’m the happiest woman in the world right now,” Russian player Anna Vyakhireva told journalists after the match. “We were the best team and we really believed in it, the whole group.”
The Russian team finished the Olympic tournament unbeaten after winning a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
In the men’s modern pentathlon, world record-holder Alexandr Lesun of Russia took the gold medal.
Lesun finished with a total of 1,479 points, an Olympic record in the event comprising five disciplines: swimming, fencing, show jumping, as well as running and shooting combined in the final phase.
“I just did my job,” Lesun said after the competition.
Lesun is also a two-time world champion and holder of two world records.
Reigning world champion Pavlo Tymoschchenko of Ukraine captured silver.
Margarita Mamun won the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around gold medal to give Russia its fifth consecutive title in the event.
The 20-year-old edged Russian teammate Yana Kudryavtseva.
Three-time world champion Kudryavtseva, 18, had led for three of the apparatus routines — ball, hoop, and ribbon — but failed to catch one of her clubs and had to settle for silver.
Ganna Rizatdinova of Ukraine claimed bronze.
Former Soviet states have won every individual Olympic medal — 18 in total — in the event since 1996.
And Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev won his first Olympic gold medal in the 86-kilogram division of men’s freestyle wrestling.
The 20-year-old — nicknamed the “Russian Tank” — beat Turkey’s Selim Yasar 5-0 for the third gold for the Russians in wrestling at the Rio games.
“It was my dream since my childhood to be an Olympic champion,” said Sadulaev, an Avar from the North Caucasus region of Daghestan. “I’m very happy and I want to thank everybody who supported me.”
Sadulaev is also a two-time world champion.
Olympic bronze medals went to Azerbaijan’s Sharif Sharifov and American J’Den Cox.
“We have four gold medals,” Russian Olympic Committee President told TASS. “This is simply fantastic.”
Also on August 20, Serbia’s world champion men’s water polo team won the gold medal for the first time.
Serbia, which finished third in each of the previous two Olympics, defeated Croatia 11-7.
Croatia won gold in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Italy won the bronze medal in Rio, beating Montenegro, which finished fourth for the third Olympic Games in a row, 12-10.
Serbian athletes took two more medals on August 20: gold in women’s volleyball and bronze in women’s basketball.
In the men’s +80-kilogram taekwondo, 26-year-old Radik Isaev of Azerbaijan won gold.
Isaev, the current world champion, defeated Abdoulrazak Issoufou 6-2, prevented Niger from claiming its first-ever Olympic title.
Iran’s Komeil Ghasemi took silver after his defeat against Taha Akgul of Turkey in the men’s 125-kilogram freestyle wrestling competition.
Ibrahim Saidau of Belarus and Georgia’s Geno Petriashvili shared bronze.
In boxing, Vladimir Nikitin of Russia and Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev took the men’s bantamweight bronze medals.
Another Uzbek, Bektemir Melikuziev, claimed the men’s middleweight boxing silver, while Kamran Shakhsuvarly of Azerbaijan took the bronze medals.
Ukraine’s Dmytro Ianchuk and Taras Mishchuk won the bronze medal in the men’s 1,000-meter canoe sprint final.
Marharyta Makhneva, Nadzeya Liapeshka, Volha Khudzenka, and Maryna Litvinchuk of Belarus took bronze in the women’s kayak.
Source: 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.