Monday, July 18, 2016

Will Japanese men dominate Rio 2016?

My friend Hans van Essen of JudoInside thinks the Japanese men will do an almost clean sweep of the male category in Rio 2016, winning 6 out of 7 titles (with only Riner stopping a complete Japanese tsunami).

On paper, it makes sense:

-60kg: Takato (world champion)
-66kg: Ebinuma (world champion)
-73kg: Ono (world champion)
-81kg: Nagase (world champion)
-90kg: Baker (not world champion but seeded No. 1)
-100kg: Haga (world champion)

But I reminded him that in Seoul 1988, it also looked like it was going to be a Japanese clean sweep:

-60kg: Hosokawa (world and Olympic champion)
-65kg: Yamamoto (world champion)
-71kg: Koga (what is there to say?)
-78kg: Okada (world champion)
-86kg: Osako (non-world champion)
-95kg: Sugai (world champion)
+95kg: Saito (world and Olympic champion)

But you know what? Every one of them lost except Saito. Like I said, the Olympics are full of upsets and unexpected results.

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