Israeli Judoka, Olympic Medalist Ori Sasson to Retire

Sasson, winner of two Olympic medals, is expected to announce his retirement from Israel's national team later this week

Ido Rakovsky
Ido Rakovsky
Ori Sasson (left) at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Ori Sasson (left) at the Tokyo Olympics last year.Credit: Amit Schussel/Israel Olympic Committee
Ido Rakovsky
Ido Rakovsky

Israeli Judoka Ori Sasson, who during his career won two Olympic medals, is expected to announce his retirement on Thursday at the age of 31.

Sasson will announce his retirement during a press conference in Tel Aviv on Thursday. He will be joined by the chairman of the Israel Judo Association, Moshe Ponte, and the men's national team coach, Oren Smadja.

Sasson won two bronze medals during his Olympic career. One in the over 100 kilogram (about 220 pounds) weight class at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and the second he shared the bronze medal as part of the Israel national judo mixed team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“You have to understand the atmosphere we enjoyed at the Olympic Village after all those losses,” Sasson told Haaretz after the Israel won the bronze in Tokyo. “We wanted something good to finally happen, and this was the best ending there could’ve been.”

At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Sasson defeated Egyptian judoka Islam El Shahaby in the first round. When the match ended, Sasson tried to shake his opponent's hand, but El Shahaby refused—to loud boos and jeers from the near-capacity crowd for the Egyptian's behavior.

Before he stood on the Olympics podium, Sasson twice won silver medals in the European Games judo competition in 2015 and 2016 for the over 100 kilogram weight class. Additionally, he won a silver medal at the 2016 Masters Tournament and two other silver medals and a bronze at the Grand Slam, as well as 10 medals at the Grand Prix, five of them gold.

Sasson has not competed since the 2020 Olympics.

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