The ever-smiling paisa was unstoppable on the night, beating the impressive Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela and Kazakhstan’s Olga Rypakova with a best jump of 15.17m. It was the first athletics gold for Colombia in the Olympics, and Ibargüen’s second medal after her silver in London 2012.
Expectations surrounding the 32-year-old reigning World Champion were high following her dominance over the last four years – indeed Ibargüen had only been beaten on one occasion in 36 international competitions. But tonight in Rio’s Olympic Stadium she had fierce competition from reigning Olympic champion Olga Rypakova in the first round, as the Kazakh opened with a jump of 14.73m.
However, Ibargüen didn’t let the pressure get to her with a second jump of 15.03m, a distance none of her competitors had achieved in the last four years. Yulimar Rojas was the only other athlete in the competition to have topped the 15-metre mark this year. Rojas took second place with her third jump of 14.87m, just 16 centimetres behind Ibargüen.
The competition went up a level in the fourth round with Rojas jumping 14.98m, putting her only five centimetres behind the paisa from Apartadó. However, Ibargüen responded in style, recording her best distance of the season, 15.17m.
The fifth and sixth round didn’t see any changes to the leaderboard, letting Ibargüen celebrate Colombia’s second gold medal at Rio 2016.
By Freek Huigen