Inspired Travis Stevens Has Epic Battles in Quarters, Semis, and for Bronze in Men’s -81 kg, But Must Settle for 5th Place

July 31, 2012

Excerpts from the IJF email report:

“In the-81kgs an awesome Travis Stevens (USA) and Ole Bischof (GER) blasted their way to the one side of the Olympic draw to meet in the semi final. Stevens was a man possessed all day, attacking and chasing every contest. In the quarter-final he caused a big upset, when he took out the world number one and top seed Leandro Guilheiro (BRA).

“Bischof, the reigning Olympic Champion at the weight, has been in inspired form in 2012, winning the 2012 Paris Grand Slam and 2012 Dusseldorf Grand Prix. From his very first contest Bischof set out his stall to attack, attack, attack and nothing else. He is arguably the best judoka in the world in Newaza at the moment. In all three of his eliminations he won on the ground; the first two were hold-downs and then, most spectacularly, the third a Juji-gatame armlock against Japanese seed Takahiro Nakai.

“The semi final between Stevens and Bischof was one of the hardest contests in judo history. Both men threw everything at the fight, attacking relentlessly, and were still doing so as Golden Score came to an end, with still nothing to separate them. This was one of those very rare contests where neither judoka deserves to lose. But in the end one has to, and the decision went unanimously in favour of Bischof. 

“The sportsmanship, spirit and courage shown by Bischof and Stevens throughout the day was the stuff that inspires.

“As with Bischof, Stevens was shattered from his semi-final encounter and it made all the difference against Antonie Valois-Fortier, who closed the contest out by a single Yuko. Valois-Fortier had put in a remarkable display himself, coming from nowhere and no real results of significance, to put away three medal prospects for the category – Elnur Mammadli (AZE), Euan Burton (GBR) and Srdjan Mrvaljevic (MNE) – before losing to Nifontov in the semi final. As the fight ended both he and Stevens broke down in tears. Both men had been brilliant all day, but unfortunately only one of them would be standing on the podium.”

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