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Olympic wrestling legend shatters strange Guinness World Record

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Saori Yoshida, who owns a record 16 combined Olympic and world wrestling titles, recently added a much stranger accolade.

The Japanese sports legend shattered the Guinness World Record for most balloons burst by sitting in one minute.

Yoshida, a 35-year-old who last competed in Rio and is assumed to be retired, popped 123 balloons on a Japanese TV show, according to Guinness. As of Jan. 26, the record had been 95 balloons.

Video of Yoshida’s record is here.

Yoshida went into the Rio Olympics looking to become the first woman to win an individual gold medal at four Olympics. She was upset by American Helen Maroulis in the final, in tears wearing the silver medal on the podium.

Yoshida is among the most famous female athletes in Japan, which hosts the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Fellow wrestler Kaori Icho, less of a celebrity, did earn that unprecedented fourth individual gold earlier in the Rio Games.

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Kaori Icho, Japan Olympic legend, to end two-year break from wrestling

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Kaori Icho, the only woman to earn individual gold at four Olympics, will enter a wrestling meet for the first time since the Rio Games in October, according to Japanese media.

The 34-year-old superstar is expected to compete at the All Japan Women’s Open Championships in October, according to reports from major Japanese media.

Icho had repeated since Rio that she was undecided about returning for a possible fifth Olympics at home in Tokyo in 2020.

If Icho is planning a Tokyo 2020 run, she will hope to add to one of the greatest careers in sports history. She once held a 13-year winning streak and owns 10 world championships.

Icho could become the first man or woman to earn individual gold at five Olympics.

While visiting New York in May, Icho did a high school clinic in Brooklyn and trained with U.S. Olympic champion Helen Maroulis. In Rio, Maroulis became the first American woman to win an Olympic wrestling title.

“I think she’s coming back,” Maroulis said then, with confidence. Here’s why: “[Icho] busted out the video camera,” Maroulis went on. “Like, hey, can I record practice?

“She feels good. She’s still got it. She’s smaller than she was, obviously, right at the Olympics. She’s amazing. There’s so much to learn from her.”

Icho is already the oldest woman to win Olympic wrestling gold (women’s wrestling was added to the Olympic program in 2004, Icho’s first Games). By 2020, she will be older than any men’s wrestling champion since Bulgarian Valentin Yordanov in 1996.

Maroulis, who last year moved up to the 58kg division that Icho won in Rio, wants to face Icho at Tokyo 2020 in what she called “a dream” matchup. (The weight classes have since been modified slightly, with 57kg followed by 59kg).

The American’s dominance the last three years rivals Icho’s heyday — world titles in 2015 and 2017 without surrendering a point, winning the latter title with a torn thumb ligament, and dethroning Japanese legend Saori Yoshida in Rio in between, all three golds at different weights while compiling a 78-1 record before a January concussion.

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Henry Cejudo becomes first Olympic champion to win UFC title

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Henry Cejudo pulled off one of the most impressive upsets in mixed martial arts history at UFC 227 to become the first Olympic gold medalist to win a UFC title.

Cejudo ended Demetrious Johnson’s nearly six-year reign as the UFC flyweight champion Saturday night at Staples Center, earning a split-decision victory over the most dominant active champion in the sport.

Cejudo (13-2) is an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler who only started training in mixed martial arts five years ago, but he used five takedowns and relentless offense to earn the decision over the fighter widely considered the pound-for-pound best in MMA.

Cejudo won 28-27 on two of the three judges’ scorecards to beat Johnson (27-3-1), who had won 13 consecutive fights since 2012 and had defended his 125-pound belt a UFC-record 11 straight times.

“This is a dream come true, from Olympic gold medalist to UFC champion,” Cejudo said. “I was born right here in Los Angeles, in a two-bedroom apartment. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to these fans in California for their support.”

Cejudo is the third Olympic champion to compete in the Octagon, but neither of the previous two (wrestlers Kevin Jackson and Mark Schultz) became a UFC champion.

Cejudo, who became the then-youngest U.S. Olympic wrestling champion at 21 at Beijing 2008, gained instant fame as the son of undocumented immigrants from Mexico. In Rio, Kyle Snyder broke Cejudo’s record as youngest U.S. wrestling gold medalist.

Cejudo’s story was told in a book, “American Victory.”

After failing to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials, Cejudo debuted in mixed martial arts in 2013.

He lost his Olympic gold medal escaping a California wildfire in October.

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