After six dominant performances, it was hard to imagine Turkey's Sevda Altunoluk finding a way to top herself.
Playing for a gold medal, however, tends to bring out the best in people — even the greats.
Altunoluk scored the first time she touched the ball and finished with nine goals overall as Turkey dominated the United States 9-2 in the women's goalball final at the Tokyo Paralympics on Friday.
"It makes us proud and happy to raise our flag up again," Turkey's Reyhan Yilmaz said. "At the beginning of the competition we said we are going towards that goal, and we did it."
Turkey lost only once in its seven games..
"You cannot describe this feeling, you have to live it," 17-year-old Fatma Gul Guler said. "If you want to feel what we feel, you have to win."
The U.S. team left the floor disappointed, but with their heads held high after securing silver.
"I'm so very, very proud," Lisa Czechowski said. "It was such a great tournament. Kudos to Turkey, they played a fantastic game. Kudos to our team, we had a fantastic tournament.
"We had such a tough journey to get to this gold medal game, every moment of every game meant so much to me."
Altunoluk scored the first six goals of the game and Turkey never looked back.
"Imagine you're playing with the world's best player," Yilmaz said. "It gives you self confidence."
Altunoluk led all scorers with 46 goals during the Paralympics. Japan’s Norika Hagiwara was second with 25.
While Altunoluk was scoring goals, Yilmaz was busy diving to swallow up anything that came into her general vicinity to help keep the Americans off the board.
"I had great self-motivation for the final game," she said. "I did my best, I cooperated with my teammates and I am very happy. It was (a) really hard game for me to keep (my) concentration all game long."
Turkey's lone loss during the Paralympics was a 4-3 defeat against the U.S. in the preliminary round.
"We were really angry after the group game and we really wanted to win," Yilmaz said. "This game, we took revenge."
Japan won the bronze medal with a 6-1 win over Brazil earlier in the day.
Brazil won gold on the men's side with a 7-2 win over China in the final. Bronze went to Lithuania, which was a 10-7 winner over the United States.
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