In Beijing, Travis Stevens made it to the quarterfinals. In London, he reached the semifinals.
Now 30, Stevens is preparing to step onto the tatami for his third Olympics. And this time, he hopes that elusive medal will finally end up around his neck.
The American judoka is carrying momentum into the Rio Games; in May, he became the first American male to win gold at the Judo World Masters, an invite-only tournament that features just the best international athletes. The win moved him up to No. 5 in the 81kg (178.5 lbs) world rankings and into a seeded position for Tuesday’s tournament.
“I wanted to make sure that I could make it into the medal round [of the World Masters],” Stevens told TeamUSA.com. “Everybody that I did fight is going to be here on [Tuesday] and to win that just proves that I am ready to win a gold medal.”
The U.S. has never won a gold medal in men’s judo. The country’s first gold in women’s judo did not come until 2012, when Kayla Harrison became Olympic champion.
In order to capture his first Olympic medal, Stevens will need to work his way through a tough field that includes 2014 world champion Avtandil Tchrikishvili of Georgia, 2015 world champion Takanori Nagase of Japan and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Antoine Valois-Fortier of Canada.
Here’s what else to know for Day 4 of competition.
The first block will feature preliminary and quarterfinal matches, and will take place on two separate mats, each with a dedicated live stream.
The final block will feature repechage matches, semifinals, Bronze Medal Matches and Gold Medal Matches.
- 1. Avtandil Tchrikishvili (GEO)
- 2. Takanori Nagase (JPN)
- 3. Antoine Valois-Fortier (CAN)
- 4. Ivaylo Ivanon (BUL)
- 5. Travis Stevens (USA)
- 1. Tina Trstenjak (SLO)
- 2. Clarisse Agbegnenou (FRA)
- 3. Miku Tashiro (JPN)
- 4. Yarden Gerbi (ISR)