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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 15: Gold medalist Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women’s Hammer Throw on Day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk Breaks Own World Record To Win Hammer Throw Olympic Gold

Anita Wlodarcyk of Poland broke her own women’s hammer throw world record to claim the gold medal in Rio on Monday.

Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk Breaks Own World Record To Win Hammer Throw Olympic Gold

Her winning throw landed at 82.29m (269 feet, 11 inches). Wlodarcyk, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, entered the Rio 2016 Games with a 28-meet undefeated streak that began in 2014.

China’s Wenxiu Zhang won silver with a mark of 76.75m (251 feet, 9 inches). Sophie Hitchon broke Great Britain’s national record (74.54m)  on route to claiming the bronze medal.

Wlodarcyk won gold by using the old, gray and tattered left glove of former champion and close friend, the late Kamila Skolimowska.

Skolimowska, gold medalist at the 2000 Sydney Games as a teenager and the biggest star of hammer at the time, died in 2009 at the age of 26 after suffering a pulmonary embolism at a Poland team training camp in Portugal.

Since then, Wlodarczyk, 31, has competed using her good friend’s glove. She’s had to repair it a few times but she said she’ll use it for the rest of her career.

“I still throw with this glove. I still have memories of her,” Wlodarczyk said through a translator. “It was 16 years ago that she won in Sydney and I’m very happy that I continued this tradition.”

The Rawicz, Poland native won the hammer throw world title in 2009 and has set six world records since then.

Team USA’s Amber Campbell finished sixth on Monday, and compatriot DeAnna Price was eighth. No U.S. woman has won a medal since the event debuted on the women’s Olympic program in 2000.

On a scalding hot day at the Olympic Stadium, and after pouring bottles of cold water over herself to stay cool during the event. After winning the competition, she leaped in joy again, and called it an “explosion of happiness.”

Then, she paraded around the track, holding the Polish flag high above her head. Wlodarcyzk felt no shame in admitting how exhausted she was after everything.

“I couldn’t move, especially after the run around the stadium,” she said, sitting on a stool after struggling to stand for media interviews. “I’m extremely tired, but I’m very happy I’m in one piece and without any injury.”

The men’s hammer throw competition begins Wednesday morning, and the final will be held Friday night.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 15: Gold medalist Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women’s Hammer Throw on Day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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Written by Pablo Mena

Writer and assistant editor for usports.org. NY Giants and Rangers fan. Film and TV enthusiast (especially Harry Potter and The Office) and lover of foreign languages and cultures.

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