Canada's Tonya Verbeek gets wrestling silver

Canadian wrestler Tonya Verbeek lost her gold-medal match Thursday to Japanese great Saori Yoshida, but still stood on the podium for the third consecutive Olympics by taking the silver.
Tonya Verbeek, in red, battles Japan's Saori Yoshida in the 55-kilo gold-medal bout in London. (Paul Sancya))

Canadian freestyle wrestler Tonya Verbeek lost her gold-medal match Thursday but still stood on the podium for the third consecutive Olympics.

The Beamsville, Ont., native fell to Japanese 55-kilogram great Saori Yoshida in a rematch of the 2004 Olympic title bout in Athens.

"I felt a lot of belief in myself and I felt good going into the finals. I said to myself, 'This is my time', but sometimes it doesn't work out that way," said Verbeek, who was competing at her last Olympics. "I feel really great, I have my family and friends here.

"I promised myself before this competition that I was going to enjoy myself and I feel I did that today."

Verbeek had beaten opponents from India, Ukraine and Colombia to reach the final.

Thursday’s victory gave Yoshida her third consecutive Olympic gold medal. She has also won the last seven world titles, and nine in the last 10 years.

She has prevailed over Verbeek in each of their nine career meetings.

Verbeek, who turns 35 on Tuesday, has said she plans to retire after the world championships in Edmonton in September. She’ll walk away with a pair of Olympic silver medals along with a 2008 bronze. Verbeek also won three world championship medals, including a silver last year.

She is the second Canadian wrestler to reach the podium in London. Carol Huynh won a bronze medal in the women’s 48-kg class on Wednesday.

Verbeek's silver was the second medal of Day 13 for Canada. The women's soccer team defeated France for a bronze earlier.

"I promised going into the Olympics I would give everything and the result would take care of itself," Verbeek said. "Wrestling is an awesome sport, it's done wonderful things in my life and I have three Olympic medals.

"The Games is not just about being here in the stadium, it's about the qualification and the pushing through."