US teen becomes first American woman to win Olympic gold in taekwondo

CHIBA, JAPAN - JULY 25: Anastasija Zolotic of Team United States celebrates after defeating Lo Chia-ling of Team Chinese Taipei during the Women's -57kg Taekwondo Semifinal contest on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Makuhari Messe Hall on July 25, 2021 in Chiba, Japan. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
CHIBA, JAPAN - JULY 25: Anastasija Zolotic of Team United States celebrates after defeating Lo Chia-ling of Team Chinese Taipei during the Women's -57kg Taekwondo Semifinal contest on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Makuhari Messe Hall on July 25, 2021 in Chiba, Japan. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images) (2021 Getty Images)

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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