Teddy Riner is quite simply the most successful competitor in Judo history, and he’s recently started exploring new avenues by adding Jiu-Jitsu into his training regime. At the age of 33, there is nothing left for Riner to win. He already has two individual Olympic gold medals and one team gold, along with a pair of individual bronze medals. His whole career has been one long highlight, including a period of almost ten years that he went undefeated in competition and winning an unprecedented ten world championship gold medals.
In a recent interview with French newspaper L’Equipe, Teddy Riner discussed his plans for the rest of his Judo career and how his recent exploration of Jiu-Jitsu might be what earns him a fourth olympic gold medal in 2024:
“I managed to incorporate techniques on the ground that will serve me for my judo. The main thing is to do something qualitative, to learn new things to progress and add weapons to my scheme. Not everything is in place yet, but it’s coming.”
While he explained that it hasn’t paid off on the international stage just yet, it seems as though that may just be a matter of time:
“For the moment it hasn’t materialized too much in competition but in training, as soon as I fight in ne waza, I see the difference. I gained in mobility and that’s interesting because the opponent can’t follow. The idea is above all to gain in speed of execution. That’s what I’m trying to lean towards.”
Teddy Riner also elaborated that the things he’s been taking from Jiu-Jitsu have been tailored specifically to his needs as an elite Judo athlete. The difference in rules means that a lot of what the average BJJ competitor learns is useless to him, so he’s made sure to only take what is useful:
“They’re not going to give us knee locks or shoulder locks too much. They could, because on the ground, they are light years away. In six seconds they can fold the fight. But they open the game, so that we can feel the trick and so that we can progress. They have lots of interesting techniques but I don’t take everything they show me. Sometimes I only remember one detail, but it may be the one that will make the difference in the Olympic final. On the day of the Games, whoever is hungriest will win.”
This is a relatively new development for Teddy Riner, as he held a period of dominance over the world of Judo for well over a decade before ever getting this involved with Jiu-Jitsu. He’s been putting in the work and training with BJJ world champions in recent months, including in the below post to the oficial Instagram account of CFJJB France: