Promoted from the FanPosts by Kid Nate.
My previous previews can be seen here
Top 10 at the Olympics:
- Kaori Matsumoto, Japan
- Telma Monteiro, Portugal
- Rafaela Silva, Brazil
- Automne Pavia, France
- Sabrina Filzmoser, Austria
- Corina Caprioriu, Romania
- Ioulietta Boukouvala, Greece
- Jan-Di Kim, Korea
- Giulia Quintavalle, Italy
- Marti Malloy, USA
The biggest name in this division is Kaori Matsumoto(World Gold and Bronze medalist, 2x Asian Games champ). Matsumoto is a weapon. I can literally think of no better word to describe her. Well, I could go with the international Judo media and refer to her as 'The Assassin', but that name is overused. In the last two years she has lost exactly three matches. Once each to two of her strongest rivals, Telma Monteiro(Bejing Olympian at 52kg, 4 World championship medals, 7 European Championship medals including 4 golds) and Rafaela Silva(World Bronze medalist and 3x Pan-Am medalist). Her third loss in the last 2 years was to World #2 Aiko Sato(Also world Gold and Bronze medalist, 4x Asian Games medalist).
Other that those losses, she has mopped up pretty much all of her competition. To make things more interesting, she is probably the best ground technician in international women's Judo. Generally speaking if she doesn't get you with the throw, you will probably get pinned or submitted befor you have a chance to do anything else. Interestingly enough, she did lose the All-Japan championships this year to Nae Ukada, a woman I've never heard of and who has no recorded international experience. That incidentally should give you an idea of how strong Japan is in Judo. The #1 and #2 in the world can lose to a woman noone has ever heard of.
Kaori Matsumoto Profile:
I'm assuming either Monteiro or Silva will take the silver. Neither of them lose very often when they aren't fighting Matsumoto, especially Monteiro.
On my spoiler list for this weight, I'll include Miryam Roper of Germany(European Bronze Medalist), Marti Malloy of the USA(2x Pan-Am Silver Medalist), Giulia Quintavalle(2008 Olympic champion) and Yurileidys Lupetey of Cuba(2004 Olympic bronze, 3x Pan-Am champ). Quintavelle was a spoiler at the last Olympics so its worth keeping an eye on her. As for Lupetey, she is another sign of the once-fearsome Cuban female Judo squad that seems to be in decline.
GBR will be sending Sarah Clark. A 2 time Olympian and European Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist. This is her third and probably last Olympics, but she has the kind of experience that makes her a possible spoiler.
Top 10 at the Olympics:
- Ki-Chun Wang, Korea
- Riki Nakaya, Japan
- Dex Elmont, Netherlands
- Mansur Isaev, Russia
- Nyam-Ochir Sainjargal, Mongolia
- Ugo Legrand, France
- Navruz Jurakobilov, Uzbekistan
- Dirk Van Tichelt, Belgium
- Joao Pina, Portugal
- Bruno Mendoca, Brazil
Again, we are looking at an incredibly competitive division. Japan qualified 3 people and Russia, France, Uzbekistan, the USA and Poland qualified two.
At the top of the heap is Wang Ki-Chun of Korea(2008 Olympic Silver medalist, 2x world champion, 2x Asian champion). He basically took over the decision from fellow Korean and 2004 Olympic champion Lee Won-Hee. Since the beginning of 2011, he's had 43 matches and lost exactly one to world #6 Ugo Legrand. Barring a freak accident like the rib injury he received in 2008, this is probably his Olympic gold to claim.
There is some serious heat standing in his way though, starting with 2011 world champion Riki Nakaya of Japan. Nakaya has lost to Wang in the finals of two different competitions and will probably be looking to change that. He is only 22 and pretty new to international senior competition, but the won the Worlds last year and the All-Japan championships this year so he is definitely a threat
Another person to be aware of, the first of the Elmost brothers from the Netherlands, 2x world silver medalist and 2x European medalist Dex Elmont. Dex and his brother(who will be discussed in the next preview) are both second generation Judo olympians. Their father competed for Suriname in the 1976 Olympics. For the K-1 and MMA fans, Suriname also gave Holland Remy Bojansky, Melvin Manhoef and Tyrone Spong.
The USA representative is Nick Delpopolo(2x Pan Am bronze medalist). I've seen him compete a few times and he is solid. With a good day he could crack the top 5. That said there are other guys I favour a lot more.
The Brit representative will be Danny Williams. The 23 year old's best international win appears to be a European Cup gold medal in 2011. From what I've seen of him, he's obviously good, but not experienced enough to be able to crack the medal positions
As for an outside dark horse to keep an eye on, I'm going with Africa Games bronze medalist Emmanuel Nartey of Ghana. He is an incredibly physical judoka and a big thrower, but not necessarily the most tactically aware athlete. On a good day though he could cause people a ton of trouble.
Also on the dark horse list, Bruno Mendoca of Brazil. I saw him compete at the olympic test event and was definitely impressed by what he had to show. Outside of the top 10 and the names I've pointed out, its worth pointing out that 73kg is one of the most populated weight classes internationally. Much like 66kg pretty much anyone is dangerous.