Renzo Gracie black belt Travis Stevens made history this Tuesday, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The American won the silver medal at the judo 81kg division. In the final, Stevens lost to Russia’s Khasan Khalmurzaev, by ippon.
Stevens was in his third appearance in the Olympic games and this time he was able to take all the way with a flawless campaign. First he beat Sweden’s Robin Pacek by yuko (tomoe-nage); then he outscored Uzbekistan’s Shakhzodbek Sabirov by ippon (Tate-shiho-gatame); the third match was against Bulgaria’s Ivaylo Ivanov, beat by ippon also (Yoko-shiho-gatame). The semifinal was against Georgia’s Avtandili Tchrikishvili, also beat by ippon (Okuri-eri-jime).
In the final, Stevens meet Russia’s Khasan Khalmuzarev and came up short after the Russian was able to counter attack one of Steven’s attacks with an uchi-mata to get the ippon score for the gold medal.
Stevens’ silver medal is the first by a male American athlete in judo since the 2004 games.