So the Judo competitions of this year’s (2016) Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are all wrapped up. Well don’t worry, you can still watch the full-day event replays for a limited time on the CBC website (likely in Canada only, see your local broadcaster for listings/archives). Spoiler Alert: unfortunately Canada didn’t win any medals.
Both the qualifying rounds and repêchage/medal matches are available. In total there were 7 days of Judo action, running from August 6th to August 12th, 2016. Here are the links:
- DAY 1: Eliminations/Quarterfinals & Repêchage/Medals
- DAY 2: Eliminations/Quarterfinals & Repêchage/Medals
- DAY 3: Eliminations/Quarterfinals & Repêchage/Medals
- DAY 4: Eliminations/Quarterfinals & Repêchage/Medals
- DAY 5: Eliminations/Quarterfinals & Repêchage/Medals
- DAY 6: Eliminations/Quarterfinals & Repêchage/Medals
- DAY 7: Eliminations/Quarterfinals & Repêchage/Medals
Full Schedule (listing of male/female weights contested, by day):
What is repêchage?
Don’t feel bad, I also had to lookup the term “repêchage”; turns out it is a French word which literally means “to finish up again”. Judo and other Olympic sports with tournament brackets (such as Wrestling, TKD, Cycling sprints and even Rowing) the repêchage round allows a fair chance for all (or some, depending on sport) of the losers to compete for the final medal(s) up for grabs. The two finalists of course get Gold and Silver, but any competitor who had already lost a match to one of the finalists and/or semi-finalists is guaranteed to get another chance for a medal (as long as they are injury-free and healthy enough to compete again). So don’t go drinking your woes away as soon as you hear the words “ippon” if you’re an Olympic Judoka who has lost, in case the person who defeated you goes on to the finals. In Judo, repêchage is fought for the Bronze medal. If you lose against a semi-finalist, you get to fight in the repêchage rounds in a mini-bracket for the Bronze. As such, the repêchage bracket is built from athletes who were knocked out by the finalists and building brackets to determine third place. The 1st & 2nd round losers fight each other, the winner of this fights the 3rd round loser, and so it goes until there are only two individuals remaining who fight for third place; the other competitors who made it to repêchage get a tie for 5th place. Repêchage addresses the possibility of two top competitors or favorites meeting in an early round where one is of course eliminated much earlier than their rank or skills would have indicated they should, thus it allows the early loser a chance to still compete for a Bronze medal. In part this is also to address the “Golden Score” rule that ensures that somebody wins and there are no draws or inconclusive bouts as each round is an elimination round. A major weakness of repêchage is to make sure that competitors are not paired with anyone from the same club, country, or social gathering to avoid conspiracies during the last match, such as: “if you let me have a yuko, and then you win by ippon, I’ll get the silver and not the bronze, but you win the gold all the same”. So it is important that contest individuals who may even remotely know each other must fight first in a repêchage system. The benefits of repêchage is that it is one of the best ways to work through a large number of competitors/teams, as it goes from a Qualifier or 100s down to Round of 64, Round of 32 then Round of 16, Quarterfinals, Semi-finals and finally the Gold medal match.
On to the Differences between Olympic Judo and Self-Defense Judo