Tokyo Olympics 2021

Olympics Day 7: France's Riner fails to get third gold in judo, but gets bronze

Teddy Riner from France had been attempting to win a third consecutive gold medal in the men's judo competition.
Teddy Riner from France had been attempting to win a third consecutive gold medal in the men's judo competition. Franck FIFE AFP

Teddy Riner's attempt to land a record-equalling third consecutive Olympic gold medal in judo ended on Friday when the Frenchman lost to Russia’s Tamerlan Bashaev in the quarter-finals of the men’s 100kg competition. Instead, he walked away with a bronze medal.

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Riner, 32, lost 29 seconds into golden score when he fell onto his back as he attempted to throw Bashaev, who was given credit for a waza ari on a sumi-otoshi throw.

The defeat terminated Riner's attempt to match the feats of Tadahiro Nomura who won gold in Atlanta in 1996 before claiming more glory in Sydney in 2000 and Athens four years later.

Several hours after his defeat, in a small consolation, Riner took the bronze medal when he beat Hisayoshi Harasawa of Japan.

“Of course, there is frustration. You have to keep in mind my age, which counts for a lot. I'm happy with my performance. It’s my fourth Olympic medal at 32,” Riner said on French national television.

"Very happy to be taking this medal home," he wrote on Twitter. I had to really reach deep within myself to go get it, and it's a reward for the years of hard work I've put in."

Gold for Krpalek

At just over two metres tall, Riner had ruled the roost. He went 10 years between defeats while amassing world championships titles against opponents who were unable to deal with his size and athleticism.

But his 152-bout winning streak ended in February 2020 with a loss to Kokoro Kageura of Japan in Paris. 

Infrequent competition over the past 18 months due to niggling injuries meant he entered the Tokyo games unseeded. 

Even though he won his first two bouts over Austrian Stephan Hegyi and Israeli Or Sasson, it was devoid of his famed elan. 

In the final of the men's heavyweight category, Georgian Guram Tushishvili lost against Olympic champion Lukas Krpalek from the Czech Republic, who claimed a second Olympic gold in a row.

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