Three-Time Olympic Champion Tadahiro Nomura Retires from Competitive Judo

Tadahiro Nomura with His Three Gold Medals
Tadahiro Nomura (left), a three-time Olympic judo champion at 60 kg, attends a Monday news conference in Osaka. | KYODO

He won gold medals in the 1996 Atlanta Games, the 2000 Sydney Games and the 2004 Athens Games in the extra lightweight (-60kg) judo division. No other judo-ka has ever accomplished such consistency for so long.

On August 31, Tadahiro Nomura (野村忠宏) announced his retirement from competitive judo at the age of 40. As he was quoted in this Kyodo news report, “I began to feel my physical limit,” the 40-year-old Nomura said at a news conference. “I’ve done everything I can. I have no regrets.”

In addition to his three consecutive Olympic golds, he also won gold in the Judo World Championships in 1997, as well as bronze in the 2003 World Championships in Osaka. The man from Nara, Japan often won in spectacular fashion. He employed a seoi-nage technique, a throw where the thrower’s feet get in between the opponent’s legs in lightning fashion, and the thrower is able to toss the opponent over his back and shoulder with unexpected ease.

See the video below for a visual explanation, which is in Japanese, but fairly self-explanatory. A more detailed explanation of the seoi-nage in English can be found at this link.

Nomura comes from judo pedigree – his uncle Toyokazu Nomura was the gold medalist in the -70 kg division of the 1973 Games in Munich, while his father coached Shinji Hosokawa to gold at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.