One of our readers reminded us that we forgot to mention France’s judo champion Teddy Riner. Born in Guadeloupe, his family moved to Paris when he was a baby. Known as Big Ted by many, Riner took up judo when he was five years old, taking it up as a serious choice at age 13. His ambition in 2011 was to win gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games: “the only medal I am missing.” Well, he did it! Here is some information from the London 2012 Olympics site:
Reason for taking up this sport—“As I was always hyper active, my parents had to find some activities to satisfy and direct my energies. At the age of five, they got me a membership at Aquaboulevard where I did tennis, jazz, dancing and judo.” When Paris-Saint-Germain took control of the club’s judo section, his potential was noticed. He also says he chose judo because it was an individual sport where he didn’t have to rely on anyone else, as losing in a team made him feel helpless. In judo, he could “be sure to never lose”.
Hobbies—Riding jet-skis, playing football, basketball and tennis, watching any sport on television, cars, visiting his homeland of Guadeloupe.
Most influential person in career—His family: “They have always been there, even when I wasn’t a champion. They always have a kind word for me, and have always been there for me no matter what. You can’t be a champion alone; you need the right people there to look out for you. When I am on the mat, I know I am not alone.”
For more information, see http://www.london2012.com/athlete/riner-teddy-1102342/