News

The latest Judo News offered by JudoInside.com

All about Polish double Olympic Champion Waldemar Legien

1 Jul 2018 03:20

 by Oon Yeoh, JudoCrazy    David Finch / Judophotos.com
19920729a1721_86kgs_medals

Waldemar Legien was the third player to have won two Olympic gold medals. Hitoshi Saito (JPN) and Peter Seisenbacher (AUT) both won theirs in 1984 and 1988 while Legien got his in '88 and '92.

Legien wasn't the favorite in Seoul 1988. The top pick then was Japan's Hirotaka Okada, who had won the World Championships the year before. However, Okada was unexpectedly beaten by a young Frenchman, Pascal Tayot, whose unorthodox gripping flummoxed the Japanese.

This was good news for Legien, for he had lost to Okada in the 1987 World's. With the Japanese champion out of the way, Legien found himself in the final against the 1984 Olympic Champion Frank Wieneke.

It was bound to be a battle of drop seoi-nages as this was both players' favorite technique. In fact, it was drop seoi-nage that had won Wieneke the 1984 gold when he unexpectedly threw Neil Adams of Great Britain with it for ippon. Perhaps Legien was just that little bit hungrier on that day because it was his drop seoi-nage that prevailed in Seoul. Wieneke went flying over for ippon.

Legien would go on to win the European title two years later but other than that, he didn't win any other major tournaments until the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. By that time he was already at the tail end of his career and was certainly not the favorite. That honor would again belong to Japan's Okada, for it was Okada who was the reigning World Champion, having won his second world title the year before.

Leading up to Barcelona 1992, Legien had fought Okada twice and lost both times. The Japanese World Champion certainly would have been a tough hurdle for Legien to overcome. But that battle never happened. Just as in 1988, the top favorite was again taken out by a relative newcomer. This time it was Nicolas Gill of Canada who shocked the world by defeating Okada. Legien then beat Gill to meet the Frenchman Tayot in the final.

Tayot was a tall, lanky guy who favored sankaku on the ground. He didn't really have any big techniques in tachi-waza but he was excellent at gripping and the battle with Legien was largely one of grips. In the end Legien won through an opportunistic kosoto-gake that gave him the lead. It was a rather unorthodox move that only earned him a minor score but it was enough for the crafty Legien to win the match, and secure his second Olympic gold medal.

Whether Legien (2 Olympic golds) or Pawel Nastula (1 Olympic and 2 World golds) should be considered Poland's greatest judo player will depend very much on what factors you are looking at.

If you were to look at dominance, Nastula was the Top Dog in his weight class from 1994 and 1997, when he won every title there was to be won at the time. In contrast, Legien never had a golden period as such. Instead, he had two absolutely brilliant moments, four years apart, both times at the Olympics.

If World titles are considered a critical factor, Nastula has two of them while Legien has none. And if you want to look at the European Championships, Nastula has three golds while Legien has one. But some people consider a second Olympic gold as trumping any other achievements at the World or European level. If that's the case then the title of the greatest Polish player should go to Waldemar Legien.

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Waldemar Legien (POL) - Olympic Games Barcelona (1992, ESP) - © David Finch, Judophotos.com
  • Waldemar Legien (POL) - © David Finch, Judophotos.com
  • Waldemar Legien (POL), Pascal Tayot (FRA) - © David Finch, Judophotos.com

Related Judo Videos

Related Judo News

20170421_warsaw_ech_df_day2_finch170421b6673_m

Polish Judo Federation Celebrates 60 years of History

11 Dec 2017 10:40

Last weekend, the Polish Judo Federation celebrated its 60th anniversary in Warsaw. Polish Judo Federation President President Jacek Zawadka hosted various distinguished guests in the world of judo and Polish sports. Read more

20170429_cadet_european_cupzagreb_km_frank_wieneke_ger_2

Frank Wieneke successful judoka even more successful as coach

4 Jul 2018 15:05

There are not many great players who manage to transition into a great coach. The one who immediately comes to mind is Ezio Gamba, an Olympic champion from Italy who has gone on to coach several Olympic champions from Russia. Read more

20180210_paris_ijf_fb_jw_venue_paris

Grand Slam Paris delivers good discussions about judo

15 Feb 2018 10:30

It’s always great to analyse judo and the most recent development in our sport. Whether they are critical or not, at least discussion leads to a good modus in which it should direct. The Paris Grand Slam has been such a milestone event that should be the benchmark. Still there have been some interesting situations that need more attention for the discussion among coaches and athletes. Read more

ijf_rules

New IJF Rules for 2018-2020 analysed

12 Jan 2018 15:00

IJF President Marius Vizer introduced the new rules at the IJF homepage with a few extra personal words. “In the process of development of our sport, it is of utmost importance to do the best, first of all for the content and the image of our sport, for a better comprehensibility and consistence of the rules for judokas, judo lovers and the World.” Read more

2017_wc_referee_nutsubidze_vladimir_geo_3

How judo will change in 2018

1 Jan 2018 09:00

Starting today, there are some slight modifications of the IJF rules. JudoCrazy analysed the new rules and notes the Top 5 ways how judo will be affected (not in any order of significance). Read more

First description

Judo birthday

Result City Date
1Ekaterinburg18 Mar
1Godine4 Mar
1Budapest2017
5St. Petersburg2017
1The Hague2017
Result City Date
2Tarragona28 Jun
5Hohhot27 May
2Tel Aviv28 Apr
2Antalya8 Apr
5Agadir11 Mar

Partners

First description Second description Third description Four description