It was thisclose, but not gold cigar for Yuri Alvear.
The 30-year-old Colombian judoka had to settle for a silver medal after having made it all the way to the final in the Women’s 70kg Judo competition at the 2016 Rio Games.
Japan’s Haruka Tachimoto, who had never won a major individual medal, won a final that was over far too quickly.
Having won three World Championship titles in her division and a bronze at the 2012 London Games, Colombia’s first-ever Olympic medal in judo, disappointment was written all over Alvear’s face after Tachimoto secured a maximum ippon score.
Alvear knew she had a real chance to notch Colombia’s second gold medal of the 2016 Summer Olympics, following Oscar Figueroa’s emotional win in weightlifting.
Now that’s how you shake it of… Following a crushing 10-second loss to eventual winner Lucie Decosse of France in the quarterfinals, Yuri Alvear bounced back to claim her place on the medal podium at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The 26-year-old Colombian judoka, the 2009 world champion, beat Fei Chen of China on Wednesday to take the bronze medal in the in the 70kg division in women’s judo.
In the process, Alvear—who placed seventh after losing a very close match to Leire Iglesias of Spain at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing—landed in the annals of Colombian sports, giving her country its first Olympic medal in judo.
Having learned that Alvear had won Colombia’s first Olympic judo medal, the country’s president Juan Manuel Santos called her to thank her. The only problem was, she was too busy to speak to him.
“At that moment I was heading to the medal ceremony so I couldn’t talk to him,” Alvear said laughing. “I told him I would call him back when the ceremony finished.”