For five minutes, Sara McMann wrestled well enough to get a gold medal. For one final minute, she didn't.
In a furious final period, Japan's Kaori Icho scored three takedowns to win, 3-2, in the 63kg (138.6-pound) final.
McMann was inconsolable, sobbing on the medals podium. It wasn't just because she lives in a country that fawns over gold medals and ho-hums over those of another color, but because she felt she could do better. "I just felt like I did everything I could, worked as hard as I could," said McMann, who was born in Takoma Park.
"Sara doesn't need to hang her head," U.S. Coach Terry Steiner said. "She doesn't want the silver medal right now but, she'll come to realize it was a great accomplishment."
McMann's reddened, sorrowful eyes told a different story. The 23-year-old McMann was in control for two-thirds of the match, but Icho began to score by staying away from McMann's superior upper-body strength and attacking her around the ankles with quick, tough-to-defend moves.
Patricia Miranda beat Angelique Berthenet of France, 12-4, for the bronze in the 48kg (105.6-pound) class.
"The only thing I know is, I'm leaving here after giving it my all," said Miranda, who enters Yale Law School next month. "I didn't care if I lost as long as I gave everything I had."