The most dominant judoka in the world will be France’s flag bearer for the Rio Olympic Opening Ceremony next week.
Teddy Riner was awarded the honor Sunday, after the conclusion of the Tour de France in Paris.
“It’s a great honor, a great pride to have been elected by my peers,” Riner said. “Now, the Olympic dream begins. I want everyone to take pleasure, give their all and bring a lot of medals.”
Riner was reportedly given the distinction over basketball star Tony Parker and pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, a world record holder and defending gold medalist. The 27-year-old Riner, judo’s defending heavyweight gold medalist, will lead 397 French athletes into the Rio Games.
Riner earned a bronze medal at the 2008 Games before capturing gold four years ago. He’s heavily favored to repeat as champion considering he has not lost a match since 2010. Riner is an eight-time world champion (the most ever), has won the last three world titles, and is the No. 1 men’s heavyweight in the world.
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