Yoko Tanabe Director of Olympian Association of Japan and director of All Japan Judo Federation
Yoko Tanabe—Olympic Medalist and Judo Proponent
During high school, Yoko Tanabe was a highly successful javelin thrower, finishing eighth in Japan’s national tournament. In her last year, however, she took a judo class at school, and was gradually drawn into the sport, attending the prestigious Kodokan. At university, Yoko gained recognition for her track and field prowess, yet continued to pursue her love for judo, and finally chose the mat as the way to her childhood dream of entering the Olympics. It was clearly the right choice, bringing Yoko six consecutive victories in the All Japan Women's Championship and medals at three Olympics—a bronze and two silvers—in 1988, 1992 and 1996. The value of playing a sport, she believes, is the process where you can show growth depending on your own effort. If you are truthful to this process, it will lead you to the next step. Yoko frequently travels the world doing clinics and speaking to aspiring judoka.