Teddy Riner had only come for the gold. His pride as a champion – bruised – pushed him to be satisfied with another medal at the Tokyo Budokan in + 100 kg. Friday, July 30, a few hours after his disillusionment with the quarter-finals against Russian Tamerlan Bashaev, the 32-year-old double Olympic gold medalist came back to life and he did everything to win the second Olympic bronze medal of his career, the fourth in total.
He could indicate this number with his fingers as he stepped out of the tatami mat. As if the circle had come full circle – temporarily perhaps while awaiting a possible participation in the Paris 2024 Games – thirteen years after having won third place in the Beijing Olympics during his Olympic debut.
Behind the scenes, the double Olympic champion was awaited by two other former gold medalists. Boxer Brahim Asloum (victorious in 2000) and judoka Emilie Andéol – crowned in 2016 on the same day as Riner – applauded their compatriot and demanded a selfie. The president of the French Judo Federation, Stéphane Nomis, took him in his arms. Earlier, he showed his satisfaction after his two new bronze medals: “That’s seven medals. What a team of patients! “
The French judoka may not have entered into legend by equaling the hat-trick of Japanese Tadahiro Nomura (1996, 2000 and 2004, in – 60 kg) but he could also win, on Saturday, a fifth medal in the event. mixed by team. He has also made an appointment for this deadline, Friday at the end of his fight for bronze.
“There is frustration. Even though I had the level to go to the final, I’m still happy. It’s my fourth Olympic medal at 32, he told France TV. I’m glad I got on the march at every event. I was on the highest point for a long time, today it has not happened. But there is still Paris 2024 and there is also tomorrow. “
Hisayoshi Harasawa reduced to the role of extra
Revenge at the start of his repechage, Teddy Riner was expeditious against another giant, Rafael Silva (180 kg), yet double Olympic bronze medalist. It must be said that the Brazilian is rather helpless when he faces the fallen champion. He has never beaten his opponent in competition. Today was no exception: a waza ari followed by an ippon knocked out Silva in 46 seconds.
While his executioner, Tamerlan Bashaev, was in turn overthrown by Georgian Guram Tushishvili in the semi-finals, Teddy Riner prepared to face Japan’s Hisayoshi Harasawa in the bronze medal match. A less prestigious remake of the 2016 Olympic final.
Undefeated against this opponent, he at least extended this series. Impressive and ruthless, the Frenchman left Harasawa no chance, reduced to the role of extra and penalized three times.
First Olympics, first medal for Romane Dicko
A few minutes before the French judoka, his 21-year-old junior, Romane Dicko, blue-white-red braids on the right side, had taken the same path by dominating, for third place in the + 78 kg, the Turkish Kayra Sayit.
She saw her golden dream thwarted in the semi-finals by Cuban Ydalys Ortiz, quadruple Olympic medalist (1 in gold, 2 in silver and 1 in bronze) and finally in silver in Tokyo. In tears, a habit since the beginning of the competition for the perfectionists of the French women’s team, she confided her emotion: “When people say well done to me, it makes me cry. »
Resident of PSG, Teddy Riner’s club, she shared a funny adventure with her elder. “Teddy told me that we shared this medal, that he too finished with a bronze medal in his first Games, she said. We followed each other throughout the day. I was there when he lost in quarterback. He was there when I lost in the semi-final. The story is beautiful. “
Hope of tricolor judo – presented as the future Teddy Riner among women – Romane Dicko was slowed down for a time by shoulder injuries. Her beginnings were dazzling: youngest French champion at the age of 17, only four years after starting the sport …
Cousin of another champion named Teddy, the triple jumper Tamgho (world champion and ex-world record holder), the young woman came back strong in 2020. In November, she won a second European title and followed by several successes during Grand Slam. “My cousin is a champion. He gave me advice and a mission. I half failed but I hope he is proud of me ”, she explained.
The future is hers. Like Teddy Riner, she left her first adventure at the Olympics with bronze. In three years, she will be the big favorite at home in Paris: “ I have this medal, I can tick it off. And in three years, I’ll check off the other. ” With perhaps a new adventure to share with his elder.