Teddy Riner defends Olympic judo title in men’s heavyweight

Teddy Riner showed why he’s considered the most dominant man in judo, winning all four of his matches in the men’s heavyweight division to earn his second straight Olympic title and third Olympic medal overall.

Riner was put to the test in his semifinal match with Israeli judoka Or Sasson. With no scores on the board, Riner picked up a penalty to tie the match. As the clock wound down, it appeared the bout would go into golden score, but Riner had a buzzer-beating throw on Sasson that scored a waza-ari right as the clock hit zeroes.

With Japan’s Hisayoshi Harasawa, the world No. 2 behind Riner, also winning his semifinal, the gold medal final most people were hoping to see came to fruition.

Riner entered the day on a winning streak that spanned nearly six full years, while Harasawa recently had a 22-month winning streak finally come to an end. Despite being the world’s top two judoka in the weight class, Riner and Harasawa had never before fought each other.

What ensued was more of a tactical bout. In the Gold Medal Match, Harasawa picked up an early penalty and trailed on shidos for the rest of the fight. With neither judoka putting any scores on the board, Riner earned the victory by virtue of having one fewer shido at the end of play.

Gold: Teddy Riner (FRA)
Silver: Hisayoshi Harasawa (JPN)
Bronze: Or Sasson (ISR)
Bronze: Rafael Silva (BRA)