Prior to Thursday the Czech Republic had never won an Olympic medal of any kind in men’s judo. Lukas Krpalek changed that in the half heavyweight division, as he defeated Elmar Gasimov of Azerbaijan in the gold medal match.
Krpalek, who entered the competition ranked fourth in the world in the half heavyweight division, beat Gasimov by ippon four minutes, 36 seconds into the match. Already with one World championship and two European championships to his credit, Krpalek now has an Olympic gold medal as well. Krpalek also received the honor of leading his nation’s delegation into the Olympic Stadium, as he was chosen to be the Czech Republic’s flag bearer.
Winning the bronze medal matches were France’s Cyrille Maret and Japan’s Ryunosuke Haga, with Haga having to win a fight in the repechage before defeating Ukraine’s Artem Bloshenko. All four medalists are ranked among the top ten judoka in the world in the half heavyweight class.
No Americans competed in the 100 kg weight class.