Sandra Perkovic celebrates her winning throw in the discus at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (© Getty Images)
Just as she did in qualifying, defending Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic delivered in the women’s discus final only when two fouls put her under some pressure.
In her last chance to get a mark on the board and continue throwing, Perkovic produced a 69.21m throw which proved not only to be enough for gold but more than two metres beyond what anyone else could reach.
It turned out to be Perkovic’s only recorded mark of the competition, as she went on to foul her next three throws.
While Perkovic was looking for a mark, Melina Robert-Michon opened with two marks beyond 64 metres, leading early with 65.52m.
In the third round, Cuba’s world champion Denia Caballero moved up to second with a 65.34m throw, momentarily pushing Robert-Michon to third. But Robert-Michon responded with a 66.73m French record in the fifth round, returning to second and leaving Caballero third.
Robert-Michon was also second at the IAAF World Championships Moscow 2013. Rio is her fifth Olympics; her previous best finish was fifth in 2012.
After Robert-Michon’s big throw, the only changes to the order came below the medals; Australia’s Dani Samuels moved up to fourth with a final-round 64.90m throw.
Nadine Muller, fourth in London, finished sixth here with a 63.13m in the first round as her only mark. Germany’s highly-ranked trio underperformed in the final, finishing sixth, ninth (Julia Fischer, 62.67m) and 11th (Shanice Craft, 59.85m).
Yaime Perez, the 2010 world U20 champion and fourth at last year’s IAAF World Championships, recorded three fouls and ended with no mark.
Conditions for the final couldn’t have been more different from qualifying. Where Monday night’s qualifying was cool and sufficiently rainy to halt group A’s throwing for half an hour, Tuesday morning’s final was sunny and hot.
Parker Morse for the IAAF