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Olympic Watch - Judo: Pedro Falls, Britain Gets TP'd

Dateline: 18 September 2000

Pedro Eliminated

America's best hope for judo gold was smashed to the mat today. Jimmy Pedro, reigning world champion at 73 kg, was eliminated by South Korea's Choi Yong-Sin. Choi then defeated 1996 Olympic gold medallist Kenzo Nakamura, with a tai-otoshi for ippon. Choi's run was cut short by a young Brazilian grappler, Tiago Camillo, who emerged seemingly out of nowhere to reach the finals of the world's biggest tournament. Camillo later fell to gold medallist Giuseppe Maddaloni of Italy.

Jimmy Pedro has been the star of U.S. judo for the past few years, especially after his world championship win. Pedro did well in the repechage (second-chance round), defeating four opponents by ippon--including Japan's Nakamura--to win the right to fight for third place. However, he still was unable to capture the bronze medal, the medal he won at the 1996 Atlanta games.

British Judoka Foiled by Tissue Paper, Ruled "Overweight" at 115 Pounds

British judo's Debbie Allan was disqualified from her 52 kg (114 lbs) division for being 50 grams overweight. That's about the weight of a few sticks of chewing gum. Allan checked her weight earlier in the day on the practice scales, and was just under 52 kg according to the practice scales. However, when she stepped on the official scales at 5:10am the day of her bouts, she found herself 400 grams over the limit.

Faster than you can say "Jenny Craig", Allan attempted to lose weight before the 8am deadline. Even after drastic measures like exercising to the point of dehydration, cutting off all her hair, and shedding all her clothes before stepping onto the scales, she still did not make weight, and was not allowed to compete.

Officials later found bits of tissue paper stuck into the machinery of the practice scales. Although the scales were supposed to be guarded against tampering, some saboteur rigged the scales to read lower. Allan, who won gold at the European Championships, was considered one of Britain's best hopes for a judo medal. The British Olympic contingent is lodging a formal complaint.

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