judo at Olympic Games

If judo is today a major sport and practiced by tens of millions of people around the world, it was not always the case, judo at the Olympic Games is an example.

The difficult integration of judo in the Olympic Games

If the first Olympic Games of the modern era took place in 1896 in Athens, judo was not immediately part of it… Indeed, this martial art was created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. It will start to be exported, in particular in France in the middle of the years 1920 and in the whole world after the second world war. The European Judo Federation (EJU) was founded in 1948 and 3 years later the International Judo Federation (IJF) was born.

It is in honor of the Olympic Games of Tokyo in 1964, that judo makes its first appearance in this competition. At that time, only four categories are represented, -68kg, -80kg, +80kg and “all categories”. The Japanese were the big winners with 3 titles in -68kg, -80kg and +80kg. Women were not represented in this sport at the 1964 Olympic Games.

4 years later, during the Mexico Games, judo is not included. It then makes its return in 1972 in Munich and will remain in the program until today.

Women at Olympic Games

If this sport is becoming more and more democratic in the Western world and women practice this sport at a high level, the first world champion is Jane Bridge in 1980, it is only in 1992 that they participate in the judo events of the Olympic Games. Women and judo, it is a long history of emancipation that began decades before the presence of women’s judo in the Olympic Games.

Cécile Nowak, Olympic champion in Barcelona 1992 in -48kg

Since 1992, women are represented every 4 years at the Olympic Games. Judo as we know it today with 7 weight categories for women as for men, comes into force only in 1996 for men and in 2000 in Sydney for women.

Finally in 2020, during the second edition of the Tokyo games, a new category enters the scene, the mixed event, which sees the French leaving with the gold medal after having beaten the great Japanese rival on its ground.

The outstanding judokas of the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games are the theater of play of the greatest champions. Judo has many of them. Here are the most remarkable of them.

. Tadahiro Nomura, the only judoka triple Olympic champion in individual. He won the -60kg category in 1996, 2000 and 2004.

Tadahiro Nomura and Teddy Riner

. Teddy Riner Double Olympic champion in individual 2012 and 2016; and Olympic champion by team 2020. All in the +100kg category

. Ryōko Tani, the first woman double Olympic champion in 2000 and 2004 in the -48kg.

. Uta Abe and Hifumi Abe first siblings in the history of the Olympic Games to win a gold medal on the same day. ( All sports )

Hifumi and Uta Abe at Tokyo games

The standards of kimonos for the Olympic Games

Judo kimonos play a very important role in judo competitions. It is a very codified martial art and the equipment worn by the judokas does not escape this rule. Besides the color, blue versus white, there are many rules. If you want to learn more about the IJF standards we have written a whole article about it.

During the Olympic Games, the rules in place are similar to the IJF rules for international competitions.

But there is a difference. The logo must appear only on one sleeve. And smaller than on the IJF approved judogis.

Rémi Feuillet, with the kimono to Olympic standards

Finally, if you want to discover our range of judogis , IJF or not, go to our website.