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Fighter Profiles > Olympic Champions > Ki-Young Jeon
DOB- 11 JULY 1973
COUNTRY - Korea
WEIGHT U78kg & U86kg
Atlanta 1996 Gold -78kg
Hamilton 1993 Gold-78kg
Tournoi de Paris
1993 - Gold
Seoul 1995 Gold
Ki-Young Jeon was the greatest Korean judo champion. Three times World Champion, and Olympic Champion in 1996, he dominated the -86kg category. Fit, and left-handed, he had an unstoppable left drop Seoi-nage.
Jeon met the most influential coach of his career when he was at high school - Hyun-Kyu Hwan. Hwan was a hard mentor, and very tough with his students. He taught Ki-Young his trademark technique, the sharp feint into Seoi-nage. The snappy flick downwards with the hands momentarily froze his opponents. Hwan taught him not to throw as they froze, but wait until the moment they relaxed, and then hit them with the killer Seoi. His first major success in Korea came at 16, when he beat the established junior international Oh-Jung Hwan, and came to the attention of the selectors.
At the 1993 World Championships the Olympic Champion, Japan's Hidehiko Yoshida, was favourite, and despite injuring himself, fought his way into the final. Jeon defeated Olympic silver-medallist, Jason Morris of the USA, and the talented Frenchman, Darcel Yandzi, to claim the other spot. The injured Yoshida could not produce his best and Jeon threw him with Seoi-nage for waza-ari, to take the gold. Many judo fans wondered what would have happened had Yoshida been at full fitness.
They got their answer two years later in Makuhari, Japan. Jeon had decided to move from -78kg to -86kg at the same time as Yoshida had made the same step. They met again in the highly anticipated final of the 1995 World Championship. It was a magnificent fight; nonstop attacking from Yoshida was met by great defence from Jeon. Then came the big Seoi from the Korean as he dropped under the Japanese fighter. Yoshida rode the attack, but Jeon came back up into an explosive driving Osoto-gari planting Yoshida on his back for ippon.
The next year Jeon was favourite to win the Olympic title in Atlanta and he didn't disappoint. Before the final against the unknown Uzbek Amin Bagdasarov, his confidence was so high that he went through mental rehearsals not of the fight but of the victory salute he would give when he won. And win he did with two waza-ari scores from Seoi-nage.
Paris was his final World Championships. Once again he was untouchable, defeating Marco Spittika again in the final. He retired at the top, the finest fighter that Korea has ever produced, and took a PhD in sports before taking up a position as national trainer to the Korean men's team.