Why Are There 2 Bronze Medals In Judo?

Olympic judo bronze medal

When you watch Judo in the Olympics, you may notice that they give out two bronze medals. Have you ever wondered why there are 2 bronze medals in Judo?

Let’s go over the reasons why there are two bronze medals in Olympic Judo. We’ll also go over other Olympic competitions that also give out two bronze medals.

Why are there  bronze medals in Judo? There are four different reasons why Judo has two bronze medals. This is due to the nature of the brackets, no rematches, time, and team medal count.

The Nature Of The Brackets 

The nature of the brackets is the biggest reason why Judo has two bronze medals. Some call the Judo tournament system “the last eight repechage.”

In this system, the last eight competitors will compete for medals. The finals decide the gold and silver medalist, and four other consolidation matches or repechages decide the bronze medalists.

These repechage matches are between the losers of the quarter and semi-finals matches. The four losers of the quarter finals matches go against each other first to decide who faces the losing semifinalists.

After the initial repechage matches take place, the bronze medal matches are set. Whoever wins these last two consolidation matches become the bronze medalists of the tournament.

No Rematches

The way this type of bracket works means that there will be no rematches. If a competitor beats their opponent, they will not have to face them again.

They could possibly compete in the consolidation rounds, but not against one another. It’s even possible that a competitor and a previous opponent they beat could both end up in third place.


Time restraints are another reason that this system is in place. Especially within Olympic Judo, where each weight class must be finished that day.

If the event is televised, the organization running the tournament(like the Olympics) buys a certain amount of TV time. They cannot go over their allotted time or they will have to pay fees to the TV stations for going over. It could also be because the organization running the event rented the venue for a specific amount of time. 

Team Medal Count

In Judo competitions, competitors not only represent themselves, but also their country. To go along with the single competitor awards, there are also awards for the teams with the most medalists.

By having an extra bronze medal, this increases a team’s chance adding to their medal count. Having this extra medal could decide whether a team takes home the team championship or not.

What Is The Bracket System In Judo?

The bracket system in Judo is a mixture of two different systems. A single elimination knockout system and a repechage system.

At first, the competition began as a single elimination system. If a competitor loses in the opening rounds, they are out of the competition.

But once the competition reaches the quarter finals, it turns into a repechage system. Competitors in these consolidation rounds must either win one to two matches to earn bronze.

Two if they were eliminated in the quarter finals, and just one match if they go to the semifinals.

The Positive Of This Bracket System

This type of bracket system may seem odd, but it does have some advantages to it. Namely three that make the system work.

Having An Absolute Winner

By Judo using this system, it creates an absolute winner of the competition. Obviously if a competitor wins all of their matches, they are the true winner of the tournament. Then of course, the loser of the finals would be the silver medalists.

No Rematches

No rematches is a very good positive to this bracket system. If you beat an opponent, you will never have to face them again in that tournament.

This makes it to where the later matches in the tournament are new and have the potential to be exciting. 

More Medals

In a major Judo competition, this bracket system gives four competitors the opportunity to win medals. For many Judokas, it is their dream to win or place at the Judo world championship or the Olympics.

This second bronze medal gives them an extra opportunity to earn a medal.

The Negatives Of The Judo Bracket System

The bracket system used in Judo is arguably one of the best systems used in combat sports. But there are two particular negatives that one could argue the system has.

No Third Place Match

In this bracket system, there is no third place match. One could argue that this means there is no true bronze medalist using this system.

 Are There Any Other Events That Give Out Two Bronze Medals?

Judo is not the only Olympic event that gives out two bronze medals. There are several other sports that also give out two bronze medals.

  • Wrestling(Greco Roman and Freestyle)
  • Judo
  • Karate
  • Taekwondo
  • Boxing

The reason why these other combat sports give two bronzes is because they run the same way as Judo. They’re single elimination tournaments, where there’s an absolute winner, and no re-matches.

Quarter finals losers compete in repechage matches to face the semi final losers to decide the bronze medals.

Will Judo Ever Change Their Bracket System

It is not likely that the International Judo Federation will ever make changes to their bracket system. They are fairly set in their ways on how their tournaments should be run.

The IJF constantly makes changes to rules within the competition, but not the system itself. If they see no issue with their bracket system, then it is likely to never be changed.

Is This A Good System To Use For Tournaments?

This system that Judo uses is one of the best you can use for a tournament. It ensures that there is an absolute winner and gives certain losing competitors the opportunity to win medals.

Some may argue that there needs to be a true third place match, but due to time restraints, this isn’t possible.

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Let's Roll BJJ aims to be the leading source of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Grappling information and news on the web. Dorian, the owner and editor of Let's Roll BJJ is a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu and has been training and competing for over 6 years. Apart from being a BJJ geek, Dorian is a software developer by trade, a husband, and a father of two wonderful kids who he's recently began teaching Jiu Jitsu. When he's not training, coding, or writing, you can find him hiking, camping or occasionally binging on video games.


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