Olympic Judo was introduced at the 1964 games in Tokyo and has done so for all Olympic games since, with the exception of the 1968 games.
Women’s Olympic Judo was added in 1992 having been demonstrated at the 1988 Olympic games.
Olympic Judo is governed by The International Judo Federation (IJF), which was founded in 1951.
Competitors are matched in weight classes (see below) and then drawn into 2 groups and follow a knockout format to reach the final, unusually there are also 2 bronze medals. The competitors start the match 4 metres apart on the mat and are awarded points for throws and submission holds, but can also have points deducted for breaking any of the rules. Matches consist of a 5 minute round for men and a 4 minute round for women. There is one main referee and 2 line judges.
Judo has also been part of the Paralympics for visually impaired competitors since 1988 (men) and 2004 (women). The rules differ in that the competitors start with a close grip on each other (Kumikata).
Judo is also part of the Special Olympics, which has several event classes, based on age, gender, weight and ability level, with further divisions being made within these levels.
For more information about Judo, see the main Judo article here.
Olympic Judo Weight Classes
– 60 kg
60 – 66kg (Half-Lightweight)
66 – 73kg (Lightweight)
73 – 81kg (Half-Middleweight)
81 – 90kg (Middleweight)
90 – 100kg (Half-Heavyweight)
+ 100kg (Heavyweight)
– 48kg (Extra-Lightweight)
48 – 52kg (Half-Lightweight)
52 – 57kg (Lightweight)
57 – 63kg (Half-Middleweight)
63 – 70kg (Middleweight)
70 – 78kg (Half-Heavyweight)
+ 78kg (Heavyweight)
Bout/match – The contest between 2 competitors.
Chui – A serious penalty awarded against a competitor for an offence, giving the opponent a yuko.
Danger zone – A 1 metre red area around the main contest area.
Hajime – The command given by the referee to start a bout.
Hansoku-make – Disqualification awarded against a competitor for an offence, giving the opponent an ippon, or automatic victory.
Ippon – A point scored for a single manoeuvre to win a bout.
Judoka – Name given to those who practise in Judo.
Keikoku – A penalty awarded against a competitor for an offence, giving the opponent a waza-ari, or a half-point score.
Koka – A minor score.
Matte – The command given by the referee to stop a bout temporarily.
Osaekomi – The command given by the referee to begin timing a hold.
Osaekomi-toketa – The command given by the referee to stop timing a hold.
Safety zone – A 3 metre wide out of bounds area around the competition area.
Shido – A minor penalty awarded against a competitor for an offence, whereby the opponent scores a koka.
Sono-mama – The command given by the referee to freeze, with the competitor stopping all action and holding their positions.
Soremade – The command given by the referee to end a bout.
Tatami – Vinyl covered foam mat measuring 14m x 14m and a 10m x 10m main contest area.
Waza-ari – A half-point.
Yoshi – The command given by the referee to continue a bout after a stoppage.
Yuko – Part score for a near waza-ari.
Olympic Judo Years
1964 – (men Only)
1968 – (none)
1972 – (men Only)
1976 – (men Only)
1980 – (men Only)
1984 – (men Only)
1988 – (men Only, with women’s as a demonstration only)
1992 – (Men and Women)
1996 – (Men and Women)
2000 – (Men and Women)
2004 – (Men and Women)
2008 – (Men and Women)
2012 – (Men and Women)
2016 – (Men and Women)
2020 – (Men and Women)
Equipment used in Olympic Judo Events
Mat (Tatami)- Vinyl covered foam mat measuring 14m x 14m and a 10m x 10m main contest area.
Uniform – Heavy duty Judogi.
Vest – for women.