Jimmy Pedro must be basking in a beam of sunshine right now. The American judo team he coaches has conducted a very successful attack at the medals podium in the London 2012 Olympics and come away with a gold medal, a bronze medal and two high finishes in the repechage brackets.
Kayla Harrison, a favorite to win the women's -78 KG tournament, did just that and did so in dominant fashion. We at Bloody Elbow have already covered her wonderful run to the top, so without further ado, let us move on to the rest of the action in the men's -100 KG and women's -78 KG divisions.
The American entrant in the -100 KG division, the 22 year old Kyle Vashkulat, was promptly thrown for ippon by Sayidov, the Uzbekistani quarter-finalist in the first round. This Olympic cycle was meant to be a learning experience for Vashkulat, so there is no shame and considering the successes his teammates had, he will be well set to learn from them and from the other athletes at the games.
Below the jump will be GIFs and some commentary on the medal rounds action in both divisions.
Related Links: Kayla Harrison wins first ever USA judo gold in -78 KG | Men's -90 KG and Women's -70 KG Finals Highlights | Men's -81 KG and Women's -63 KG Finals Highlights | Men's -73 KG and Women's -57 KG Finals Highlights | Men's -66 KG and Women's -52 KG FInals Highlights | Men's -60 KG and Women's -48 KG Finals Highlights
The full results in text form with clickable scorings for each match done last night can be found on the official London 2012 website: http://www.london2012.com/judo/schedule-and-results/day=2-august/index.html
Again, remember that there are quite a few GIFs after the jump, so tread lightly. All of them were done by Zombie Prophet, who can be found on Twitter with the handle @ZProphet_MMA
The bronze medal match betwen Audrey Tcheumeo of France (blue gi) and Abigel Joo of Hungary (white gi) ended with a big o-soto-gari from Tcheumeo. I am no judo expert, but Joo's decision to go for an o-goshi or something similar looked incredibly ill advised there. Earlier, Joo won a 40 second match over a Gabonese player to get to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, Joo scored a waza-ari on Kayla Harrison, the eventual champion, before being thrown for a yuko and finally for ippon (o-goshi for the first and o-soto-gari for the win - both hip throws). Tcheumeo would make it to the semi-finals before losing to Gemma Gibbons by uchi-mata in about a minute and a half of action.
In the other bronze medal match, #1 Olympic/world ranked Mayra Aguiar of Brazil (blue gi) and Marhinde Verkerk of the Netherlands (white gi) battled for about a minute and a half before Mayra scored a ko-soto-gari (really, really sweet foot sweep) for ippon. Look at how Verkerk kind of avoids the first attempt at the foot sweep, but the awkward looking hop and re-try by Mayra keeps the lead leg from providing the much needed counterbalance of the step backwards of the other foot. Perfect grips allow Mayra to keep control of her opponent and prevent a turn to the belly by Verkerk. This might have been the best throw I've seen in Zombie Prophet's GIFs today.
However, #15 Olympic and #20 world ranked Dimitri Peters of Germany (blue gi) went out and did this beaut of a foot sweep to #6 Olympic and #4 world ranked Ramziddin Sayidov of Uzbekistan (white gi). The foot sweep is a de-ashi-harai or de-ashi-barai (depending on how you spell it) and Peters only got a waza-ari for it - due to Sayidov landing on his side - but Peters did get a second waza-ari awarded twenty seconds later for nearly pinning Sayidov in side control as you can see. This is what judo is supposed to look like - smooth, controlled and visually impressive.
#2 Olympic/world ranked Henk Grol of the Netherlands (white gi) defeated #8 Olympic/world ranked Hee-Tae Hwang of South Korea (blue gi) in a manner that may not be obvious to the casual observer. The uchi-mata-gaeshi Grol used normally looks something like the technique this eleven second YouTube video shows, with a leg grab (which is allowed as a counter in modern judo). However, Grol managed to subvert the throw Hwang was going for without using a leg grip at all and got Hwang to land on his side - which gave Grol a waza-ari (half ippon). That was the single score of the match and Zombie Prophet closes out the GIF with Grol celebrating.
The women's -78 KG gold medal match has already been covered over at this link: Kayla Harrison wins first ever USA judo gold in -78 KG
Thus, we will head straight into the men's -100 KG judo final.
The gold medal match featured #5 Olympic and #7 world ranked Tuvshinbayar Naidan of Mongolia (blue gi) against #6 Olympic and #6 world ranked Tagir Khaibulaev of Russia (white gi).
The #1 ranked (in both systems) judoka, Maxim Rakov of Kazakhastan was upset by the #22 Olympic and #25 world ranked Elmar Gasimov of Azerbaijan in the very first round. The Japanese hope for gold, Takamasa Anai, was pinned in side control by Lukas Krpalek of the Czech Republic in the Round of 16 (it's been a bad tournament for Japan).
Anyways, getting back to Tagir, it took him 2 minutes to get the seoi-otoshi (the true "drop seoi" throw) on the Mongolian. The excellent blog The Difficult Way explains why seoi-nage is different from a seoi-otoshi and goes into quite some detail on the correct way to apply the sometimes confusing terminology.
After the win, Tagir celebrated his gold medal by getting tossed up in the air by his teammates:
and by getting a photo opportunity with Russian Head Cheese Vladimir Putin (who is also a judo black belt himself).