This fanpost was promoted to the front page by Tim Burke
Previous previews can be seen here
Over 78kg Women
- Wen Tong, China
- Mika Sugimoto, Japan
- Lucija Polavder, Slovenia
- Elena Ivashchenko, Russia
- Idalys Ortiz, Cuba
- Na-Young Kim, Korea
- Maria Suelen Altheman, Brazil
- Gulsah Kocaturk, Turkey
- Anne-Sophie Mondiere, France
- Vanessa Zambotti, Mexico
The gold in this division is basically going to come down to Wen Tong of China(Beijing gold medalist, 7 time world champ, 3 time Asian champ). Wen was actually suspended from competition for two years after the 2009 worlds where she failed a steroid test. Her excuse incidentally, eating a lot of tainted pork her teammates brought her from China. Since coming back though, she quickly gained her ranking points by winning a string of gold medals and going undefeated in 25 matches. Thus she is the favourite to pick up a second gold.
Her best competition will likely be Mika Sugimoto of Japan(2 golds and 3 bronzes at the Worlds, 4 golds and a silver at the Asian games). Most of Sugimoto's recent losses are either to her teammate Megumi Tachimoto, to Wen or to Wen's teammate Qian Qin. Since the teammates aren't showing up, she probably has the best shot at silver.
Outside of those two, I'd keep an eye on Bejing bronze medalist Polavder(World bronze, Asian gold, silver and 5 bronzes) as well as the other Beijing bronze medalist Idalys Ortiz of Cuba(double world bronze, 7 time Pan-Am gold) and Ann-Sophie Mondiere of France(3 time World bronze medalist, 5 golds, 3 silvers at the Europeans)
Britain has sent Karina Bryant(5 silvers and 3 bronzes at the worlds, 4 golds, a silver and 3 bronzes at the Europeans), Another of their veteran athletes likely to retire after London. Bryant has been very solid across her career and probably represents the UK's best chance of a medal.
Over 100kg Men
- Teddy Riner, France
- Andreas Toelzer, Germany
- Rafael Silva, Brazil
- Islam El Shehaby, Egypt
- Sung-Min Kim, Korea
- Alexander Mikhaylin, Russia
- Barna Bor, Hungaria
- Abdullo Tangriev, Uzbekistan
- Oscar Brayson, Cuba
- Janusz Wojnarowicz, Poland
There is only one name you need to know about at this weight class. Teddy Riner of France. Literally noone else in heavyweight Judo matters right now. At 22 the 6-foot-8, 128kg(280 pound) Riner already holds the record for the highest number of world championship golds for a male judoka(5) and won a bronze in Beijing at 18. This is in addition to two European gold medals. Since his loss at Beijing to Tangriev of Uzbekistan(Beijing silver medalist, world gold and 3 bronzes), he has lost exactly once by close decision in the 2010 worlds to Kamikawa of Japan(2010 world champ, Asian bronze medalist). You can see what happened in his rematches against both of them.
In the early days of his career, a common criticism levelled against Riner was that he was decently skilled, but mostly won by virtue of being taller, faster and better conditioned than the average heavyweight. And it was true. Now though, he is even stronger and better conditioned, but is now starting to hit the skill level that allows hin to mow through the competition in devastating fashion.
Honestly, my only regret about Ishii going to MMA is that we never got to see how Ishii and Riner would have fared against each other. Considering Riner is a true heavyweight who looks like this at 280 pounds, I'd pick him. It would have been nice to see though.
For people wondering if Riner will ever do MMA, probably not. The status of Judo in France means that between the money he receives from his club and all of his sponsorship opportunities, Riner is already earning close to Anderson Silva money. Add in a really conservative national governing body that has been vocal about its issues with MMA and I suspect he won't be moving over anytime soon.
Sidenote: Some of the commentary around Riner is instructive because, well, he is set to become one of the greatest judoka of all time and he is of the Athletic and Explosive ilk. While judo has a long history of black athletes at the international level, its not really considered a 'black' sport. Riner is young, brash, makes the kind of silly judgement errors you'd expect of a 22 year old and is standing on top of the sport. The commentary that results from this combination is... well, interesting.
So, we've established who will be first. The question now is who is in line for the other positions. My guess, outside of Tangriev and Kamikawa, it comes down to Mikhaylin of Russia(3 golds, a silver and 3 bronzes at the Worlds), Silva of Brazil(Gold and 2 silvers at the Pan-Ams) and Brayson of Cuba(Beijing bronze, World silver, 6 golds and 7 silvers at the Pan-Ams).
The British entry at this weight is Christopher Sherrington. Sherrington is mildly famous for being a Royal marine and is a big, strong athlete, but doesn't have an extensive competition record and the people I asked about him spent more time talking about his personality and the lack of depth in the UK at heavyweight than his prospects... I included a video about him anyway, because its a pretty good promo piece
Thus ends the preview list. After the games I'll probably do a quick rundown of who won and where I went wrong