Jade Jones was Britain’s first ever taekwondo gold medallist in 2012 and was the clear favourite to retain the title in Rio. Known as “The Headhunter” she was the top ranked featherweight and went to Brazil having won the European title a few months earlier. Eva Calvo of Spain had emerged as a great new talent since the 2012 Olympics and for a brief spell had deprived Evans of the world number one spot, and was seeded two behind the Briton in Rio. The Spaniard was the European champion in 2014 and then won the 2015 World Championship 57kg silver medal. The rivalry has been intense and exciting between Jones and Calvo in the past three seasons, and fans dearly wanted to see them contest the Olympic final. Seeded number three was the Egyptian Hedaya Malak who beat both Jones and Calvo in the 2015 Grand Prix Series Final. Another one with a good chance of gold was the sixth seed Mayu Hamada of Japan who had also beaten the top two ranked fighters and was the reigning 57kg world champion.
Jones started the defence of her title with a 12-4 win over Naima Bakkal of Morocco before easing past the Belgian Raheleh Asemani 7-2, and that was followed by a 9-4 semi-final win over Nikita Glasnovic of Sweden. In the other half of the draw the Spanish second seed had a tougher passage to the final winning all three of her bouts by a single point and the semi-final against Malak being won on sudden-death, as that dream final with Jones was set up. Malak and Kimia Alizadeh of Iran, who had twice previously beaten Jade Jones, and was a 2014 Youth Olympic Games champion, won their bronze medal matches - it was the first ever Olympic medal won by an Iranian woman.
All eyes were on the gold medal match and the advantage was with Jones who had beaten Calvo in their last two meetings. The Briton raced into a 6-0 lead in the first round thanks to two successive head kicks, but at the end of round two Jones led by a single point at 7-6 and it remained close in the third until, towards the end of the contest, Jones delivered two more successful head kicks in quick succession to run out the 16-7 winner as she became the fourth Welsh gold medallist of the Games and only the third British woman to retain an individual title after Laura Trott and Charlotte Dujardin, who also retained their titles in Rio. She was also the youngest Briton to successfully defend an individual title.