Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Jangchung Gymnastium, Seoul
Date Started: September 29, 1988
Date Finished: September 29, 1988
Format: Two single-elimination pools, with winner of each pool advanced to the final. All judoka losing to the winner of each pool advanced to repêchage pools, with the winners of the repêchage pools earning bronze medals.
|Bronze:|| Akinobu Osako
Defending champion Peter Seisenbacher (AUT) was back, but the favorite was the 1987 World Champion, Fabien Canu of France. They met in the pool semi-final, but Canu was hurt by then, and offered little opposition. The pool finals matched Seisenbacher against Akinobu Osako (JPN), who had been the most impressive judoka in the early going, and Vladimir Shestakov (URS) against Holland’s Ben Spijkers. Seisenbacher and Shestakov were too much for their opponents and advanced to the final. Only a few months before the Olympics, Shestakov had defeated Seisenbacher at a tournament in the Soviet Union. But in Seoul, Seisenbacker outlasted Shestakov to win by yusei-gachi and become the first judoka to defend a class gold medal at the Olympics.
In the repêchage, Spijkers faced Britain’s Densign White. They were old friends, having first faced each other years before at the European Junior Championships. Spijkers won the match with waza-ari gasete. Per judo protocol, they quickly bowed to the judges. But against protocol, they then spontaneously walked off the mat arm-in-arm. The referee called them back to the mat, asking them to follow the judo guidelines. This time they performed the more formal bow, and began to walk off with guides, when they again embraced and walked off together. The crowd loved it and roared its approval, and this time the referee had little choice but to allow the breech of protocol.
|2||Vladimir Shestakov||27||Soviet Union||URS||Silver|
|5T||Densign White||26||Great Britain||GBR|
|7T||Chiu Heng-An||21||Chinese Taipei||TPE|
|7T||Kim Seung-Gyu||21||South Korea||KOR|
|9T||Jorge Bonnet||23||Puerto Rico||PUR|
|13T||Bill Vincent||31||New Zealand||NZL|
|19T||José António Inácio||21||Angola||ANG|
|19T||Rene Capo||27||United States||USA|
|19T||Franch Casadei||29||San Marino||SMR|
|19T||Ng Chiu Fan||26||Hong Kong||HKG|
|33T||Michael Bazynski||29||West Germany||FRG|