London, England – Russia's Tatyana Lysenko became the first reigning world champion to claim Olympic gold in the women's hammer throw and she did it in record-breaking fashion Friday at the London Games.
Lysenko's winning toss of 78.18 meters was good enough to beat Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland by .58 meters. It also topped the Olympic record of 76.34m set four years ago in Beijing by Aksana Miankova of Belarus.
"The gold medal is the dream of every athlete," said Lysenko.
Germany's Betty Heidler, the world record holder at 79.42m, picked up the bronze, but her medal did not come without controversy.
With Heidler already having attempted her last throw, China's Zhang Wenxiu was sitting in the bronze medal position when she fouled on her last attempt. Thinking she had won the bronze, Zhang picked up a Chinese flag and began celebrating what she thought was her second consecutive Olympic medal in the hammer throw.
However, a technical error with the measuring equipment had not properly recorded Heidler's fifth attempt, the one that eventually gave her bronze, and officials at first opted to give her another throw, which she fouled.
Later, the officials found the mark made by Heidler's throw of 77.13m and awarded bronze to the German while pushing Zhang to fourth. Zhang, who won a bronze four years ago in Beijing, had a best throw of 76.34m in Friday's event.
The Chinese team protested the ruling, but that request was rejected. However after review, the Heidler throw in question was marked down one centimeter to 77.12m.
Due to the Chinese protest, the medal ceremony for the event was pushed back from Friday to Saturday.