by the Olympic Channel
The judo megastar is finally ready for his first competition since November 2017 and will compete in the Montreal Grand Prix, which runs from July 5-7. Riner: “After about a year and a half out of the competition, I was getting bored!” he said, “but it was a choice to manage my career in a way I could continue and reach my goal of a third gold medal in Tokyo. I think time has come now. I need to know where I’m at.”
“It’s my comeback and I’m really happy to do it in Canada during the Montreal Grand Prix. It will be my first time visiting Canada, I’m happy it’s happening there,” said the two-time Olympic champion.
“For 6 months I’ve been training every day to get back to competition. Some work has been done, and there’s a lot more to come on the road to Tokyo 2020.”
The 10-time world champion posted a video, where he looks lean and in his best shape since he went back to training, saying:
“Hello everyone, this is my last training before taking the plane to Canada. The objective for me is to restart, recover my confidence and get my first points for Olympic qualification. I’m counting on your support and I’ll see you at the Maurice-Richard Arena. See you soon.”
A few days before he also sent a message to fans and followers online, confirming that Montreal was going to be the stage for his much-anticipated comeback:
“Many of you send me messages to ask when I’ll be back in competition. Well I have the answer!”
“With my coaches, we made the decision to participate in the Montreal Grand Prix, Canada. I am super happy, I was getting impatient, I have ants in my pants, tingles in my hands … 18 months is a long time!” This is a big step on the road to Tokyo 2020 – Teddy Riner
Missed the tention
“I missed competition, the feeling, the adrenaline, the challenge. This is a big step on the road to #Tokyo2020, as we have to get the Olympic quota to qualify.
I want to thank you again for all your messages and your encouragement that give me strength on a daily basis, we don’t give up!”
Riner has won two Olympic gold medals – one at London 2012, another at Rio 2016, and also has a bronze medal from Beijing 2008.
By winning gold at Tokyo 2020, the 6th dan would become the most decorated judoka in Olympic history.
Japan’s Tadahiro Nomura is the only Olympian to win three judo gold medals, but France’s 2.03m +100kg titan would surpass him because of the bronze medal he won at Beijing 2008 when he was just 18.
In Montreal, Riner will seek to continue his incredible winning streak of 144 bouts which stretches all the way back to 2010.
He missed the Baku 2018 worlds in September, was all set to return at the Marrakesh Grand Prix in March 2019, withdrew from Turkey’s Antalya Grand Prix in April, then the Hohhot Grand Prix, China, in May.
That return has finally come in July 2019, opening the way to the heavyweight hero’s presence at the Tokyo 2019 world champs in August.
Staying calm is second nature: “I remain calm. I still want to qualify for the Tokyo Games as quickly as I can, but I am not worried, there are plenty of fixtures on the international calendar.”
In May the judoka went on a 15-day training camp in Japan with five young Paris Saint-Germain team-mates, two members of the French judo team and his sparring partner Nicolas Kanning.
Riner has had to work hard to shed excess weight and recover his fitness after a year out.
Gold at Tokyo 2020 might not even be the end of Riner’s Olympic journey. He previously said he wants to bow out at home at Paris 2024