It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of legendary Dutch judo coach Chris de Korte at the age of 86.

A Press Release in the Netherlands stated,

“De Korte, 9th dan, dedicated his life to judo, starting shortly after WWII remaining active on the tatami in his club until last month. He was a well-known figure at international competitions, acting as national coach and personal coach at all levels for decades. De Korte celebrated his first major successes in the eighties with Marjolein van Unen winning 3 European titles. Overall, his athletes collected more than 25 European titles, 3 world titles (Angelique Seriese 1995, Edith Bosch 2005, Marhinde Verkerk 2009) and 2 Olympic golds (Seriese 1988, Mark Huizinga 2000). He was voted European judo coach of the year in 2005.

As a coach, Chris de Korte managed a remarkable medal streak that would last 8 Olympic Games: Angelique Seriese, Theo Meijer, Mark Huizinga, Edith Bosch, Elisabeth Willeboordse and Anicka van Emden won 10 Olympic medals altogether, from 1988 until 2016.

Chris de Korte started teaching judo in Rotterdam in 1957. To educate himself, he travelled by train and boat to Japan in 1965 and stayed around Kyoto for one year. He returned, often for several months, to the home of judo. Next to competition judo, he specialised in traditional kata. His vast knowledge of judo was sought after by many generations of judo teachers, leading to new coaches at Olympic level.

The modest Chris De Korte wasn’t a man for the spotlights, often ‘disappearing’ right after the medal fights. He just wanted to do his job and enjoyed the fact that his athletes rose above their expected level. His judo club in Rotterdam is now run by Olympic coach Mark van der Ham.”

He is also remembered by the athletes with whom he worked. Mark Huizinga, 2000 Olympic champion 2000 said, “Chris was like a second father to me, raising me from the age of 15. Next to his huge judo knowledge, he had an elusive ability to bring people in their best possible shape, physically, but even more mentally. Dutch judo would have won a lot fewer medals if it wasn’t for Chris’ passion and dedication. His legacy will live on in the people that he has inspired.”

Chris De Korte, 9th Dan.

The International Judo Federation sends sincere condolences to Chris’ family and to the Dutch Judo Federation as well as all the athletes whose lives he touched.

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