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Olympic judo 2016 results: Kayla Harrison wins gold for USA

Harrison brought home a gold medal for the United States in the women's 78kg division.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kayla Harrison of the United States took home Olympic gold in the judo women's 78 kg division on Thursday, besting Audrey Tcheumeo of France, who took home the silver medal.

Harrison won the first semifinal match for the women, besting Anamari Velensek of Slovenia. The second semifinal featured Mayra Aguiar of Brazil and Tcheumeo. The winner wound up being Tcheumeo, setting up the finals between Harrison and Tcheumeo.

"I wanted all my matches on the ground today," Harrison said after the final. "Four ippons, that's good. My coaches aren't gonna be able to yell at me about that."

Harrison celebrated her second gold medal with her coach and teammates at the Arena Carioca 1 in Rio de Janeiro, and looked back at her run towards the historic win in Brazil.

"I jumped in (my coach's) arms and I don't really remember. He was just screaming 'two-time Olympic champion,' and I was like 'is this my life? Is this real right now?'" Harrison said. "I can't believe this moment is happening. I've dreamt about it for a long, long time, and when I tell you that these last four years have been a hard four years, I think it's really hard to repeat as an Olympic champion."

"I think it's probably one of the hardest things you can do, especially from the United States in a sport like judo," she continued. "We don't have the bodies, we don't have the funding. I mean, Russians get funded 25 million dollars a year, and ours is like half a million a year, for everybody. So I think it was almost impossible, but my coaches, they made me fight every tournament, they made me fight when I was tired, they made me fight when I was exhausted, when I was injured, when I was sick, and they made it so I worked too hard to give this up to anybody today."

A week before entering the mat, Harrison mentioned that she could make a transition to mixed martial arts after the Olympics. With a second gold medal in her record, Harrison would immediately become the hottest free agent in the sport. Yet, she asked for a few days before making a final decision.

"I know you all wanna know if I'm gonna do MMA or not," she said. "But tonight I'm just gonna live in the moment, be an Olympic champion, and tomorrow I'll decide what my future holds. Maybe a month from now," Harrison added, laughing.

Harrison did, however, rule out going after another gold medal in the 2020 Olympics. "I'm happy. I'm retiring," said Harrison, ruling out competing in Tokyo. "Two-time Olympic champion. That's it."

In the bronze medal matches, Aguiar managed to win hardware when she beat Yalennis Castillo of Cuba. Velensek, the loser in her semifinal match, managed to get a bronze medal when she defeated Luise Malzahn of Germany in the other semifinal.

On the men's side in the 100kg division, Elmar Gasimov of Azerbaijan took on Artem Bloshenko of Ukraine, and bested him handily, winning with a Kosoto-gake. He advanced to the final, where he faced Lukas Krpalek of the Czech Republic. Krpalek downed Cyrille Maret of France in his semifinal match.

That set up a final between Gasimov and Krpalek, with the latter taking the victory with a counter to get ippon and the win. In the men's bronze medal contests,Maret took down Karl-Richard Frey of Germany to earn one bronze medal, while Ryunosuke Haga of Japan defeated Bloshenko for the second bronze medal.