The first six days of judo have been full of surprises. With only one final day of competition left, is there anything that could happen that would be even more unpredictable?
Certainly yes. That’s because the final day of judo features the biggest favorite of all: Teddy Riner.
The French judoka’s dominance of the men’s heavyweight (100+kg/220+ lbs) can not be understated. He holds the record with eight world titles, in addition to his Olympic title from 2012 and a bronze medal from the 2008 Games.
Most importantly, he has not lost in quite some time. Five years, ten months and 30 days, to be exact. To put it another way, four years have passed since the London Games, and no one has beaten Riner in that time. His mounting accolades even led to him getting selected as France’s flag bearer at last week’s Opening Ceremony.
If Teddy Riner were to get upset, who might do it? Possibly someone he’s never faced before. A few of the hopefuls are below; none of them have battled Riner on the tatami yet.
Hisayoshi Harasawa, Japan
World ranking: No. 2
From July 2014 through May 2016, Harasawa won 34 consecutive bouts.
Iakiv Khammo, Ukraine
World ranking: No. 3
Khammo earned a bronze medal at last year’s world championships.
Daniel Natea, Romania
World ranking: No. 6
Natea upset Harasawa at the Judo World Masters tournament in May to end Harasawa’s winning streak.
All three judoka listed above are on the opposite side of the bracket from Riner. So first, they will all have to get past each other in order to get a crack at the reigning Olympic champion in the final round.
Riner is just one of two judoka attempting to defend a gold medal on Friday. Cuba’s reigning Olympic champion Idalys Ortiz, the No. 2 seed in the women’s heavyweight (78+kg/172+ lbs) division, will also be in action.
The first block will feature preliminary and quarterfinal matches, and will take place on two separate mats, each with a dedicated live stream.
The final block will feature repechage matches, semifinals, Bronze Medal Matches and Gold Medal Matches.
1. Teddy Riner (FRA)
2. Hisayoshi Harasawa (JPN)
3. Iakiv Khammo (UKR)
4. Roy Meyer (NED)
5. Or Sasson (ISR)
6. Daniel Natea (ROU)
7. Barna Bor (HUN)
8. Rafael Silva (BRA)
1. Yu Song (CHN)
2. Idalys Ortiz (CUB)
3. Kanae Yamabe (JPN)
4. Emilie Andeol (FRA)
5. Nihei Cheikh Rouhou (TUN)
6. Svitlana Iaromka (UKR)
7. Kim Min-Jeong (KOR)
8. Kayra Sayit (TUR)