A karate gold medal, an Olympic first, a national record and a wedding anniversary – all in a day’s work for Spaniard Sandra Sanchez Jaime.
She took karate’s first ever gold when she won the women’s kata and at 39 became Spain’s oldest Olympic champion.
“It is crazy. I am so emotional, I am feeling so many things together. I am happy, but I want to cry,” she said.
With karate not featuring at Paris 2024, she could also be defending champion for years to come.
She scored 28.06 in the final bout, beating Japan’s Kiyou Shimizu’s score of 27.88 in an empty arena where the only sounds were the competitors’ mid-routine shouts.
Kata demonstrates offensive and defensive techniques against a virtual opponent. Choosing from 102 forms they are scored based on speed, balance, rhythm, sharpness and other factors.
“I think I need more time to believe that this is real. I want to see my kata and make sure it happened, because right now I can’t believe it,” Sanchez Jaime added.
The Olympic champion and her coach Jesus del Moral will now remember this date for two reasons, as the historic moment coincides with their wedding anniversary.
“Today, I was five years married,” said Del Moral. “The Olympics should be [every] five years, not four years, I think it’s lucky!”