Friday, March 19, 2010

Athlete Profile - Ryoko Tani

Ryoko Tani; born September 6, 1975 is one of the world's most famous and successful judoka. She was born in Fukuoka, Fukuoka. She is now an employee at Toyota Motor Corporation.

She is commonly known as 'Yawara-chan' (from the title character of Yawara!, a popular judo manga). Since she won the International Women's Judo Championships in 1990, 'Yawara-chan' has gone on to win the event every year. She has a record seven world titles and she brought home the 48kg-category gold medal from Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Her 84-match winning streak was finally broken in 1996 by North Korea's Kye Sun Hui.

In 2003, she married Yoshitomo Tani, an Olympian and professional baseball player then with the Orix Blue Wave (now with the Yomiuri Giants). The reception reportedly cost $3 million.

In Beijing in 2008 Tani, who hadn't been beaten in a major international competition since the Atlanta Games in 1996, saw her hopes of a third-straight gold evaporate when judges awarded penalty points to Romania's Alina Dumitru after both competitors failed to show much aggression. Looking stunned, Tani fought desperately after the final controversial penalty call, but with only seconds left she had no time to mount an attack.

She defeated Russia's Lyudmila Bogdanova for bronze. She gained her fifth Olympic medal with the bronze.

Medal record

Competitor for Japan
Olympic Games
Gold 2000 Sydney - 48kg
Gold 2004 Athens - 48kg
Silver 1992 Barcelona - 48kg
Silver 1996 Atlanta - 48kg
Bronze 2008 Beijing - 48kg

World Championships
Gold 1993 Hamilton -48 kg
Gold 1995 Chiba -48 kg
Gold 1997 Paris -48 kg
Gold 1999 Birmingham -48 kg
Gold 2001 Munich -48 kg
Gold 2003 Osaka -48 kg
Gold 2007 Rio de Janeiro -48 kg
Bronze 1991 Barcelona -48 kg

Highlight Reel

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