Cuban three-time Olympic champion Mijaín López postpones retirement after postponement of Games

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HAVANA, Mar 24 (Reuters) – Cuban Mijaín López, three-time Olympic champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, praised on Tuesday the decision to postpone the Tokyo Games for about a year, although this means a change in his plans to retire at the end of the maximum sporting event.

López, who will turn 38 in August, said he will continue training to win his fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal in 2021 after wins in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.

“It is the best thing that has been done,” Lopez told Reuters by telephone after learning that the Games were postponed because of the coronavirus, the pandemic that is hitting the world. “First of all there is the health of athletes,” added the gladiator of the 130-kilo division.

López had said in February that after the Games he was retiring but clarified that after the determination announced on Tuesday “I will continue on the mattresses.”

A fourth Olympic gold medal would make him the most successful fighter in history, surpassing the three gold medals of Russian Alejsandr Karelin, winner in Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996.

The Tokyo Games were scheduled to take place between July 24 and August 9.

(Report by Nelson Acosta. Edited by Rodrigo Charme; REUTERS NAB /)

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