overturned in the quarter-finals, Teddy Riner falls from Olympus

To knock down Teddy Riner’s double meter, it took a giant slayer. It is the Russian Tamerlan Bashaev – 1 m 75 – who took charge, Friday July 30, of the dirty work. At the summit of Olympus in Rio in 2016, the double French Olympic champion was recalled – harshly – to his modest mortal condition. His trilogy will remain unfinished. He will not equal the Budokan in Tokyo, the temple of judo, his idol Tadahiro Nomura. The Japanese -60 kg judoka retains his privilege: to be the only three-time individual gold medalist.

It remains to be seen whether Riner will have the spirit of revenge sufficient to attempt to complete his quest in three years in Paris. And that of going to seek a second bronze medal at the end of this fatal day (he must fight in repechage from 10 am, Paris time).

When Bashaev brought down the idol after the golden scoring had only started for 29 seconds, a shiver ran through the spines of the privileged few who witnessed the momentous moment. A Cameroonian colleague, who remained in the press room, was incredulous: “Teddy lost? ” Until then wait-and-see, under the threat of disqualification because of his two penalties, the young Russian, reigning 25-year-old vice-world champion, unfolded his strategy like an old man. Put the Frenchman to sleep, bring him to this terrible golden score, where the smallest error is fatal since it is final.

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On his first big attack, he threw the colossus of 139 kg – official weight at the weigh-in – to the ground while accompanying his tumble. The decision, clear and clear, does not deserve any challenge. Teddy Riner has just lost an Olympic fight for the second time. On August 15, 2008, at the age of 19, the future terror of the tatami mats had already fallen in the quarterfinals of his first Olympics, dominated by Uzbek Abdullo Tangriev. This inaugural defeat had the appearance of a trompe-l’oeil, it finally announced a long reign.

Iron fist

For thirteen years, the Guadeloupe has imposed his iron fist on the premier category, that of over 100 kg. For thirteen years he hated defeat. For thirteen years, he normalized the abnormal and made his opponents pass “For babies in his arms”, as the former double world champion Stéphane Canu admired. “When a 16-year-old kid looks at 26-year-old guys, there’s plenty to ask questions”, observed Frédéric Lecanu, French heavyweight champion in 2005, pushed into early retirement by the prodigy shortly after Riner’s world title in 2007.

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