Academy Member



One of the most fearsome competitors in judo history, David Douillet was the first westerner to become both world heavyweight and open weight champion.

He won four world titles in total and ended his glittering career in style at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, successfully retaining his men's heavyweight title by beating world champion Shinichi Shinohara of Japan in the final.
David’s career was launched when his impressive judo physique was noted by Jean-Luc Rouge, France's first world champion in 1975, during a training session in Rennes. "He was already six inches taller than the rest and, after seeing him perform on the mat, I immediately booked him a room at the INSEP, the training centre for France's sporting elite," said Rouge.
He won his first Olympic medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games, clinching bronze in the 95-kilogram class, then secured his first world title in Canada the following year.
In 1995, in Chiba, at the World Championships, he successfully defended his 95kg title then made history by winning the open weight title as well.
In 1996, he won his first Olympic gold medal in the 95kg class, in Atlanta, and one year later added another World Championship golf medal, beating Shinohara on home territory in Paris in the 95kg.
David had always planned to retire after the 2000 Sydney Games but there were doubts he would even be able to compete there because of a long-standing back injury, but he battled back from injury in sensational style to win his second Olympic crown and third medal, equalling the record set by his countryman Angelo Parisi in the early 1980s.  
"I've come back a long way these last three years and I have mixed emotions," he said, after beating world champion Shinichi Shinohara of Japan in the Sydney final. "I am happy because I won the gold medal but I am also sad because I have had to turn this page in the book. This chapter has taken up half my life and now it has come to an end."         
David went into politics and he was elected to the French National Assembly in 2009. He was appointed Secretary of State in charge of French nationals abroad in the François Fillon cabinet then later became Minister of Sports from 2011-2012.


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