Japan is the home of judo and Tokyo, the site of the upcoming Summer Olympics could prove to be a record-setting Olympiad for Canadian judokas. Antoine Valois-Fortier, who was a silver medallist at the 2012 London Summer Games, is again a solid medal contender in the Olympic judo odds in the men’s half middleweight (81kg) weight class. Jessica Klimkait and Christa Deguchi are currently ranked 1-2 in the world in the women’s lightweight (57kg) division.
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Canadian Judo Olympic Picks
- Canada's Antoine Valois-Fortier is given 12.00 odds to win the men's 81kg judo gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics
- In the women's lightweight division, Canadians Jessica Klimkait and Christa Deguchi are ranked 1-2 in the worlds
- Canadian judokas have won five medals in Olympic history
The Olympic judo odds have never before looked to be stacked heavily in Canada's favour heading into a Summer Olympiad. Canada's current contingent of judokas contains a past Olympic medal winner, a reigning champion and a third competitor who is currently ranked first overall in the world.
Canada's Antoine Valois-Fortier is given 12.00 odds to win the men's 81kg judo gold medal at this summer's Tokyo Olympics. Valois-Fortier won a bronze medal in this division at the 2012 London Summer Games.
In the women's lightweight (57kg) weight class, Canada's Christa Deguchi is the current world champion. However, it is her Canadian teammate Jessica Klimkait who is listed as No. 1 in the world at the moment in this division.
|Antoine Valois-Fortier||Men's 81kg||13.00|
|Christa Deguchi||Women's 57g||2.50|
|Jessica Klimkait||Women's 57g||3.25|
In Olympic history, four Canadians have combined to five Olympic medals in judo. Canada has never won more than one medal in the discipline at any Summer Olympic Games.
Canadian Olympic Judo History
Valois-Fortier is Canada's most recent Olympic medal winner. He joined three other Canadian judokas who've earned the right to stand proudly on the medal podium at an Olympiad.
The king of Canadian judo is Nicolas Gill. Currently the high-performance CEO for Judo Canada, as well as Valois-Fortier's coach, Gill won two Olympic medals. He earned a bronze medal in the middleweight (86kg) division at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games. Gill won a silver medal in the men's half heavyweight (100 kg) class at the 2000 Sydney Sumer Games.
Had the chance to learn new techniques from 2 time Olympic medalist judoka Nicolas Gill! This guy is so strong... Merci à Nicolas et Jukado! pic.twitter.com/fEPGAcMg3Y— Georges St-Pierre (@GeorgesStPierre) December 15, 2016
Judo was introduced as an Olympic sport the previous time that Tokyo played host to the Summer Games in 1964. Doug Rogers won a silver medal there in the heavyweight division. Twenty years later in Los Angeles, heavyweight Mark Berger won the bronze medal.
Valois-Fortier A Legitimate Medal Contender
A three-time world championship medallist, Valois-Fortier won a bronze medal at the most recent worlds in 2019. He also won bronze in 2014 and silver in 2013.
He'll be looking to rebound in Tokyo after finishing a disappointing seventh at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Interestingly, Gill, Canada's most decorated judoka, also finished seventh in Atlanta in 1996 after winning bronze in Barcelona. He bounced back to earn silver in Sydney.
Only One Of the Top Two Will Go To Tokyo
The good news for Canada's Olympic judo hopes is that the top two judokas in the women's lightweight division are both Canadians. The bad news is that under Olympic rules, each country only gets one representative per weight class at any Olympiad.
That means either current world No. 1 Klimkait or reigning world champion Deguchi will be left out of the Olympic picture. The two will be required to square off at the Canadian Olympic trials in July, with the winner earning the trip to Tokyo.
The COVID-19-related one-year delay in the Tokyo Summer Games proved a blessing in disguise for Klimkait. She'd suffered a knee injury last year and wouldn't have been able to compete in the trials.
The two have met five times previously on the judo mat. Each time, Deguchi was the victor over Klimkait.
Born in Nagano 🇯🇵, Japanese-Canadian #ChristaDeguchi was the first female judoka representing @JudoCanada 🇨🇦 to win a medal at a World Championship.@10CMD29 #Tokyo2020#AsianHeritageMonth#AHMCanada2021 #DiversityIsOurStrengthhttps://t.co/phiP8gSxJ0— Canada in Japan (@CanEmbJapan) May 14, 2021
Deguchi won the world championship in 2019. Born in Japan, she also resides there but qualifies to compete for Canada due to her father's Canadian roots.
Deguchi is listed at 2.50 in the Olympic gold medal odds for Tokyo. Bettors can access a 3.25 betting line on Klimkait earning the gold medal.
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24 months. 2 surgeries. 1 Olympic dream. Will this judoka fight his way to the podium?— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) May 13, 2021
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