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Cheick Sallah Cisse Wins Côte d'Ivoire’s First Olympic Gold Medal in an Epic Finish

The 22-year-old Taekwondo champion has captured his home country’s third medal overall.

With a mere second left, Cheick Sallah Cisse of Côte d'Ivoire delivered a gold-medal-winning reverse turning kick to the head of his British opponent Lutalo Muhammad in the men's 80kg division of Taekwondo in Rio, Friday.


It was an unexpected finish for Cisse who found himself in a stalemate with Muhammad after the first round, then tied in the second round and then down by two points with the time clock winding down until only seconds remained. That’s when the 22-year-old Ivorian pulled off an unimaginable upset over his British rival, 8 to 6—and captured the first gold medal for his home country.

It’s Côte d'Ivoire’s third Olympic medal overall as just an hour earlier Cisse’s compatriot Ruth Gbagbi won the second, a bronze in the women's under 67kg Taekwondo event.

Cisse expressed his joy by running a victory lap around the arena.

"I do not know where it came from, I want to thank God,” the new Olympic champion says. “The audience allowed me to be in my element, this is what I love. There were moments in the fight when it did not go well, but thanks to the audience I got out of that."

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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