The Olympic Judo competition threw some surprising results.
The Japanese were strangled to their worst ever result since judo became an Olympic sport in 1964. The team won only a single gold, that’s down from 4 in Beijing and 14 in Athens.
Meanwhile the Russians, watched by their Judo-loving president Vladimir Putin, himself a black belt, were the most successful with three gold medals.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was also in attendance. Along with most of the crowd he cheered on Gemma Gibbons of Great Britain in the women’s 78-kilograms. She had been in fine form all day, but lost out to Kayla Harrison of the USA, and had to settle for silver.
Speaking to Euronews, Harrison said she was overjoyed to pick up Team USA’s first ever judo gold: “I don’t know the word to describe it. You dream about it, you think about it, you train for it, you work for it, you sweat for it… And the moment it comes true you realise that it was all worth it.”
Euronews attended the judo gala after the event. After the rough and tumble of competition the entire judo family got together to celebrate a fantastic competition in more civilised surroundings.
There was also a surprise guest in the form of German footballing legend Lothar Matthaus who said his sport could learn a thing or two from judo.
“The biggest difference is the discipline of the fighters and that there are no discussions with the referees. It is not allowed and this is good. On a football field you see every week, every day the players having discussions with the referee or against each other. The respect between Judokas and towards referees is for me the biggest difference between Judo and football.”