A break in the streak had a golden outcome for Ibarguen
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) With a gold medal on the line for Colombia, Caterine Ibarguen was not going to slip up this time.
A few months, ago, the triple jumper was riding the longest winning streak in athletics - 34 competitions stretching back four years. If anyone had an aura of invincibility, it was Ibarguen.
All that changed, though, when she lost to Olga Rypakova at Birmingham, England, in July. The Kazakh jumper had beaten Ibarguen to win gold at the London Olympics, and showed again that it was possible.
It turns out, that loss was a mere hiccup. On Sunday, she dominated the competition from her second jump on and won with a jump of 15.17 meters.
She's now the owner of Colombia's first Olympic gold medal in track and field.
''It is the biggest dream,'' she said.
Nobody else broke 15 meters, with Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela winning silver at 14.98 and Rypakova taking third at 14.74.
Perhaps the loss in Birmingham was a wakeup call. Getting into too much of a routine for victory, she had neglected a technical point in the complicated combination of the hop, step and jump and paid the price. It didn't happen in Rio.
Her winning jump may have been well off her personal best of 15.31, but she was not complaining.
''The mark didn't matter. The goal was the gold,'' she said.
Already 32, there might not be another Olympics for Ibaguen. But South Americans can already look forward to a new star in 20-year-old Rojas.
Her breakout event was the world indoors at Portland in March where she won gold in the absence of Ibarguen. Olympic silver is even better.
''This is huge, wonderful, the product of a lot of work,'' Rojas said. ''I was the rookie. I may be young, but I have an Olympic medal.''