After Teddy Riner won the +100 KG gold medal on August 3rd, 2012, I started thinking that he is very likely the second best heavyweight judoka of all time - at age 23. David Douillet, the French legend, has more titles and is still a ways beyond Riner yet.
If there is an athlete that Joe Silva, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita could reach out and insta-draft into the MMA world, I strongly believe that the smart move is not to pick Jordan Burroughs, the insanely talented freestyle wrestler, but Riner. Hyping up a match involving a 6'8", 280 pounds-with-washboard-abs, extraordinarily gifted athlete like Riner would be easy. He is incredibly good at throwing people and hopping out of danger - so much so that he routinely makes elite judoka look downright silly. Imagine what he could do with striking training. Having him in the octagon at this point in his career would be amazing. But Riner already makes an extremely comfortable living in judo - and thus we will likely not see him in MMA. Quel dommage.
Riner's seemingly anointed march to the top was supposed to be matched by Tong Wen, the Chinese women's judo heavyweight ruler. She beats everybody on the circuit almost routinely and with the day seemed like it was going to be the same. Three early matches yielded two pins and one dominant armbar. Then Tong lost a close one to Idalys Ortiz of Cuba in the semi-finals. Idalys would go on to win the gold (in a stall-fest) and Tong Wen expressed her frustration with another armbar win in the bronze medal match.
The full results can be seen on the official London 2012 Olympics page for judo: http://www.london2012.com/judo/schedule-and-results/day=3-august/all-day.html
Related Links: Kayla Harrison wins first ever USA judo gold in -78 KG | London 2012 Olympics Judo: Men's -100 KG And Women's -78 KG Finals Video Highlights | 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
After the jump, there be GIFs. They will take some time to load and patience is always a good thing with these. Thanks to Zombie Prophet for being the business.
Women's +78 KG Judo Medals Round
In the final match, Idalys of Cuba (white gi) was unable to score, but did more to win than Sugimoto of Japan (blue gi). A penalty given to Sugimoto decided things and I quite like the colorful celebration Zombie Prophet managed to catch in this GIF. Rest wasn't an issue, as both only had three matches on the day, so it may have been a match-up issue between two very determined competitors. Sugimoto's efforts leave Japan's judo team with some consolation, but hopes back home have already been dented by the comparatively poor showing for Japan's entire team. Hey, it's not Sugimoto's fault. She got to the finals and couldn't outpoint the Cuban.
In the first of the bronze medal matches, Iryna Kindzerska of Ukraine (white gi) battled Karina Bryant of Great Britain (blue gi) in a very back and forth affair. Bryant went down a waza-ari early on, but evened the score, went down again on a yuko and finally won with this technique for a waza-ari off a counter to a throw Iryna tried. Bryant had lost to Mika Sugimoto, the eventual silver medalist, in the semi-finals (after four matches earlier) and Bryan'ts bronze medal adds more hardware to the good run the British judo team has had this Olympics. Iryna won her first match and then lost to Tong Wen in the quarter-finals before winning her repechage match.
In the second of the bronze medal matches, Tong Wen (blue gi) had observers worried that she was going to break the arm of the Brazilian. Maria Suelen Altheman. The armbar does not look as if it is done with perfect technique, but when you are a less than agile heavyweight and your opponent masses as much as Tong Wen does, that pressure on the elbow does not feel good. Altheman's taps gave Tong Wen her 11th medal (with 9 being gold ones) at a world or Olympic championship. The legitimacy of at least one or two of those medals is questionable, as Wen did test positive for clenbuterol in 2010. However, she famously blamed Chinese pork (which often has steroids in it) and won a legal battle to reinstate her wins and to compete again. I would suspect that she is a high profile target of the drug screeners this Olympic cycle.
Men's +100 KG Judo Medal Rounds:
In the first bronze medal match, Imar Makarau of Belarus (white gi) was pinned by Andreas Toelzer of Germany (blue gi). It is a fairly nice transition from the back and displays some very smart grips. You can see Toelzer firmly pin the back of the collar grip to the mats in order to prevent Makarau from going away from him and possibly getting onto his belly. A pin seals the win and the German celebrates. Toelzer had lost to the silver medalist in the semi-finals and Makarau had lost in the quarterfinals to a semi-finalist, which shunted him into the repechage bracket. Makarau won his initial repechage match with a quick intertwining ko-soto-gaki (leg trip) that displayed enough control to get an ippon, but couldn't deal with Toelzer's newaza skills.
In the second bronze medal match, Rafael Silva of Brazil (white gi) vs Kim Sung-Min of South Korea (blue gi) was a stall-fest. It was actually decided by the referee giving Sung-Min two penalties for refusing to engage and only one to Silva. Sung-Min might have run out of gas after getting an ippon in the first match, as every other match was a slow, grindfest for him. He should work with Jae-Bum Kim more. That dude knows how to prepare for a big tourney.
In the finals, Teddy Riner of France (white gi) scored a waza-ari with this throw on Alexander Mikhaylin of Russia (blue gi). Riner then went and did something bizarre. Your guess is as good as mine. Mikhaylin, in an era sans Riner, probably would win multiple titles. He's big, he's agile and he's good. But Riner is better. Five straight world titles. A bronze in 2008 and now a gold in 2012, with more to come. Man's a monster.