After winning the 60kgm Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2000, Tadahiro Nomura retired, but he missed competition so much he decided to return to the sport. He lost in the quarter-finals in the World Championships in 2003, but persisted in his comeback and at the age of 29 won gold in Athens to become the first judoka to win three Olympic gold medals.
Nomura was also the first Japanese athlete to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in an individual event.
Nomura was one of the hero’s of Japan’s judo team which brought home eight gold and two silver medals from Athens - the best result ever for a Japanese Olympic judo team.
Nomura demonstrated overwhelming superiority at Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000, and again Athens. He won the majority of his bouts with ippon - a single move which is awarded a full 10 points. ”I wanted to show everything I've ever learned about judo, because I figured this might be my last Olympic Games," said Nomura.