Jade Jones walked on to the taekwondo mat a little after 10pm local time, which was effectively in the Usain Bolt delta. By the time her golden bout had concluded the Olympic Stadium was consumed with Bolt mania, as the man of the epoch went through his 200 metre final warm up en route to his “triple triple”.
Jones is also kicking her way into Olympic fable, her roundhouse whack into the midriff of an opponent as potent a symbol of her pedigree as the Bolt lighting pose. Spain’s Eva Calvo is to be commended for stretching the 23-year-old North Walian after falling behind 6-0 in the opening round.
Calvo’s response required Jones to summon her best to prevail, a quality that differentiates the great ones. With the advantage narrowed to 7-6 after the second round Jones went deep into her repertoire in the final two minutes of the bout, eventually running out a 16-7 winner.
At just 23, the warrior queens at 57 kilos are looking at a grim vista should Jones retain her enthusiasm for the Olympic hunt. Calvo had all the attributes, an advantage in height and reach, yet Jones was on her like a precision tool, picking her clean with lacerating feet to land four totemic head shots across the bout, worth three points each, and two of those in that critical final round.
Not for nothing is she know as The Headhunter. “It feels surreal to be honest. It still doesn’t feel real that I won in London so to have done it again is just crazy,” she said. “I’m so proud of myself because I didn’t realise how much pressure I would feel coming into these Games.
“I started crying before the semi-final because I was just so nervous and felt so much pressure. But I pulled it off when it mattered. I knew I’d feel some pressure as the reigning Olympic champion but I didn’t realise how much it would be.
“I know inside I’m the best but you can still lose so it’s such a scary feeling. You’ve trained for four years of your life, six hours a day, and when it pays off it just feels amazing.”
In the early hours of this morning, Great Britain were going for another gold in the men’s 80kg final after Lutalo Muhammad, who won a bronze in London four years ago, defeated American Steven Lopez in the quarters and then Milad Beigi of Azerbaijan in last night’s semi-final.