Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 20, 2016 – China’s women finished the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games on top of the volleyball world after they defeated Serbia in the gold medal match on Saturday.
Jenny Lang Ping’s team defeated Serbia 3-1 (19-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-23) in front of a full house at the Maracanazinho Arena.
It was an historic gold medal match because for the first time two female referees took charge.
Susana Rodriguez of Spain had the honour of being the first woman to be first referee in an Olympic final and she was assisted by Patricia 'Patti' Rolf of the USA.
The east Europeans were in determined mood from the start and had victory on their minds and on their socks, as NBC’s reporter on the scene noted.
It meant Serbia were in the mood from the start and they set the early running and grabbed hold of the match by winning the first set.
China hit back by winning the second and third sets to put themselves firmly in the driving seat.
Double Olympic silver medallist Destinee Hooker was one excited spectator transfixed by the match on television and she loved what she was watching.
Once China went two sets up they were determined to finish the job as soon as they could, which is exactly what happened.
They needed only one match point and that was enough for them to be crowned Olympic champions.
China’s victory was their 26th gold of Rio 2016 and their second Olympic women’s volleyball gold, after success at Los Angeles 1984 and Athens 2004.
It also rounded out a successful quadrennial for one of the sport's most iconic names, China coach Lang Ping, who was part of the China team that won gold at the 1984 LA Olympics.
Earlier in the day the USA defeated the Netherlands 3-1 (25-23, 25-27, 25-22, 25-19) to win the bronze medal.
The Dutch fans were out in force in Rio, but despite their passionate support, they had to watch as their team went down to the world champions.
Triple Olympic beach volleyball champion Misty May-Treanor tweeted her joy at the result.
LA are hoping to stage the Olympics in eight years' time, and duly congratulated coach Karch Kiraly on successfully leading the side to another podium.
For the Netherlands coach Giovanni Guidetti, it was an emotional end to a tournament where his team had far outstripped their initial ambitions.