If ever you needed a demonstration of why judo is good for the world, it was right here in Paris on the final day of competition. The animation was staged just prior to the start of the day 3 final block, as if there wasn’t enough excitement in the Bercy already with Dicko and Riner in their respective finals, in front of their home crowd.

The team of ‘Legends’ faced the team of ‘Heroes,’ each comprising 3 superstars of world judo and 3 local children.


Emma Lapierre, Lasha Shavdatuashvili (Olympic and world champion), Clarisse Agbegnenou (Olympic and 6 time world champion), Kael Boussuge, Marie France Coulibaly, Cyrille Maret (Olympic medallist and French hero).


Majlinda Kelmendi (Olympic and world champion), Mohamed-Rida Moussafi, Louise Girardey, Ilias Iliadis (Olympic and world champion), Lucie Decosse (Olympic and world champion), Elijah Ruimy.


Ioana Babiuc (ROU) & Matthieu Battaille (FRA) (world medallist)

Referee Ioana Babiuc steps back Clarisse makes sure 'judo' is the real winner.

There was drama and triumph, big throws, camaraderie and a lot of fun. In front of a near-capacity arena, even before the final block began, no fewer than 6 Olympic champions stepped up to take part, 5 in the teams, joined by Kosei Inoue (Olympic and triple world champion) as one of the team coaches. The other team led by Larbi Benboudaoud (world champion). Inoue was assisted by Ryame Mehafdia and Benboudaoud was assisted baby Jeanne Meric.

The match played out to a draw with each of the elite athletes losing out to their junior counterparts, 3:3. There were even two referee commission reviews to help the story along and IJF Head Referee Director Florin Daniel Lascau (world champion) was ably assisted by Vitaly Lecanu.

The draw for the usual golden score contest was made on the big screen and no-one expected what happened next; the screen showed ‘ALL vs ALL.’ The children then threw their superstars again, 6 ippon throws! The referee then called hiki-wake and the announcer closed the event.

Team spirit.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is how the story of this meeting might end, in a draw. But ultimately that's not the most important thing. Make no mistake about our message. We are not here to say that your children will be great champions. We cannot know that. On the other hand, what we are certain of, with the International Judo Federation and France Judo, is that judo is more than a sport and that its values, embodied today by extraordinary champions, allow our children to grow, in order to become the best citizens of tomorrow. And it really begins tomorrow!"

Athletes, coaches, referees, referee supervisor and Kodomo.

Watch the full mixed team match here:

See also