Jessica Klimkait became the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic medal in judo on Monday morning. All five of Canada’s previous Olympic judo medals were won by men.
The reigning world champion from Whitby won the bronze in an explosive performance in the under-57 kilogram event. She defeated Slovenian Kaja Kajzer to become the first Canadian woman to land on the Olympic judo podium.
According to a report on Canada’s Olympic website, the reigning world champion and world number one in the women’s 57kg division, Klimkait received a bye through the first round and started her day by defeating Ivelina Ilieva of Bulgaria in the Round of 16. She followed that with a victory over Julia Kowalczyk of Poland in the quarterfinal.
That set her up for a semifinal meeting with Sarah Leonie Cysique of France, ranked sixth in the world. Neither judoka could score an offensive point in the four minutes of regulation, during which Klimkait was penalized twice for false attacks.
They went into Golden Score time, during which Cysique received two penalties, or shidos, for non-combativity. That put them both in a position where another penalty would cost them the match. Just over three minutes into Golden Score time, Klimkait received another shido for a false attack, giving Cysique the victory and the chance at gold.
Klimkait ended up in a bronze medal bout against Kaja Kajzer of Slovenia, ranked 15th in the world.
“I came here with gold in mind. That was the goal for me,” said a teary-eyed Klimkait said. It was Canada’s first medal in judo since the 2012 Olympics.
Meanwhile Maggie MacNeil won Canada’s first gold medal of these Olympics, capturing the women’s 100-metre butterfly in a Canadian record of 55.59 seconds on Monday morning in Tokyo. “I can’t believe this moment happened,” she said after becoming an Olympic champion.
MacNeil, who is from London, Ontario, and competing in her first Olympics was also part of the Canadian women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team that won silver on Sunday.
At the 2019 world championships, Mac Neil also won gold in the 100-metre butterfly and set a Canadian record at her first world championships.