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Anastasija Zolotic, 18, becomes first American woman to win gold taekwondo medal

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Anastasija Zolotic took down Russia's Tatiana Minina on Sunday night to win the United States' fourth gold medal in Tokyo — and the country’s first ever in women’s taekwondo.

Zolotic knocked off Minina of the Russian Olympic Committee 25-17 in the women’s 57-kg final, ending a dominant run in Tokyo for the 18-year-old from Florida.

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Zolotic and Minina — who was ranked No. 4 in the world and held the fifth seed in Tokyo — were neck and neck through the first three rounds on Sunday night in Japan, and Zolotic entering the final round with just a one-point lead. Zolotic turned it on in the final stretch, however, and outscored Minina by seven points to claim the gold medal.

Zolotic first beat Morocco’s Nada Laaraj 11-4 in the Round 0f 16, and then beat Turkey’s Hatice Kubra Ilgun 17-9 in the quarterfinals. Zolotic reached the gold medal match after dominating Chinese Taipei’s Lo Chia-ling 28-5.

Zolotic is just the fourth American, man or woman, to reach an Olympic taekwondo final match. Steven Lopez holds the only other two gold medals in taekwondo history for Team USA.

Her gold medal is the fourth for the United States so far in Japan. Zolotic followed swimmer Chase Kalisz, who won the men’s 400-meter individual medley on Sunday — which was the first of a record six total swimming medals on the day for Team USA. Will Shaner, 20, then won the men’s 10-meter air rifle while setting an Olympic record, and Lee Kiefer became the first American to win gold in fencing’s individual foil.

Anastasija Zolotic took down Russian athlete Tatiana Minina 25-17 to win the fourth gold medal of the Games so far for Team USA. (Javier Soriano/AFP)
Anastasija Zolotic took down Russian athlete Tatiana Minina 25-17 to win the fourth gold medal of the Games so far for Team USA. (Javier Soriano/AFP)

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