Anita Wlodarczyk added more than a meter to her own world record with her third throw of six, launching the 4-kilo hammer 82.29 meters. Four of her six throws went further than any other woman has ever managed.
Wlodarczyk screamed with glee as her third orb landed on Monday, seemingly knowing she'd done enough to beat her own world record of 81.08 meters without waiting for confirmation of the distance.
Once measured, confirmation came through that the Pole - who had already broken the Olympic record with an earlier effort - had managed a distance of 82.29 meters. A later throw would also have sufficed to beat her 2015 record as well, but it fell shorter than her decisive effort.
Zhang Wenxiu of China claimed silver with 76.75m, while Briton Sophie Hitchon secured bronze on her final attempt - breaking the national record - with 74.54m. Both medalists were more than 5 meters adrift of the 31-year-old Pole.
Hitchon's last-gasp bronze-medal throw robbed Germany's Betty Heidler of a spot on the podium; Heidler's 73.71m was only enough for fourth position in the end. Heidler, bronze medalist in 2012 in London and once the world record holder, was competing in her last Olympics.
Heidler secured perhaps the least sought-after spot in the Olympic rankings - fourth, just out of the medals
Gold in Rio, and retroactively for London?
Wlodarczyk has dominated the women's hammer since doping allegations caught up with Russia's Tatyana Lysenko. The Pole has logged the 11 longest hammer throws by any woman, four of which she delivered in her six attempts at the final in Rio.
At London in 2012, it was Lysenko who took gold ahead of Wlodarczyk. However, the Russian is among those to fail retroactive doping tests from the London Games, and faces a lifetime ban from the sport. It's not yet clear whether Wlodarczyk's 2012 silver might be upgraded to a gold in future - but the 2016 title unambiguously belongs to her.
msh/apc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)