China has traditionally dominated table tennis since it became an Olympic sport in 1988, winning 24 of a possible 28 gold medals entering the 2016 Summer Olympics. And in women’s singles China had won all seven possible gold medals. That number increased to eight Wednesday night, with Ding Ning beating countrywoman Li Xiaoxia in the gold medal match.
Ning, a two-time world champion who took silver in London four years ago, erased a three sets to two deficit by winning the final two sets by identical 11-7 scores to win gold. The result is a reversal of the 2012 women’s single final, which was won by Xiaoxia. In six of the eight women’s singles competitions held in Olympic history, China has won the gold and silver medals in six of them, and on two occasions (1988, 2008) they’ve swept the medals.
North Korea’s Kim Song-I took bronze, beating Japan’s Ai Fukuhara in the bronze medal match in five sets.
Ning’s Olympic gold medal completes her career grand slam, and China has now won 25 of a possible 29 Olympic gold medals in table tennis.