Six years undefeated, two Olympic gold medals won, and more to come.
French heavyweight Teddy Riner, a record-eight time world judo champion, earned a second straight gold Friday in the sport's final event of the Rio de Janeiro Games.
Riner is arguably the sport's biggest star, and he didn't disappoint on the mat in his third Olympic tournament. The 27-year-old Frenchman beat second-ranked Hisayoshi Harasawa of Japan on penalties in the final.
He won his first match of the day in just over a minute after tossing his Algerian opponent Mohammed Amine Tayeb onto his back for an automatic victory. In his second fight, Riner defeated Rafael Silva of Brazil.
Until Friday, France hadn't won a single gold medal in judo at the Rio Games despite having many leading medal contenders. So the focus was on Riner.
"Pressure is good for the big day," said Riner, who also won gold in London and took bronze in Beijing.
Riner said that if he does make it to the 2020 Tokyo Games — where he said Harasawa would pose a significant threat — he would be honored to practice judo in the country of its origin. But he's not there yet.
"For now, I will take a vacation," he said.
Also, Silva and Or Sasson of Israel took bronze.
France also won gold in the women's over 78-kilogram category. Fifth-ranked Emilie Andeol beat defending champion Idalys Ortiz in overtime.
Neither fighter managed to score within the prescribed four-minute fight time, forcing the bout into a "golden score" period. After about three minutes, Andeol managed to trip Ortiz onto her back and then held her down for 20 seconds to earn immediate victory.
Andeol then jumped over the barriers and into the crowd, hugging supporters waving the French flag. During the medal ceremony, Andeol broke down in tears as she sang the "Marseillaise."
The bronze medals went to Kanae Yamabe of Japan and current judo world heavyweight champion Song Yu of China.