The Tokyo Games saw a huge medal haul for host nation Japan. Now, as the Games shift to the home of another judo powerhouse (France), here's a look at some of the biggest storylines that will have an impact on the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics.

Teddy Riner reasserts status as men's heavyweight favorite

Heading into the Paris Games, the judoka with the biggest spotlight on them will likely be France's own Teddy Riner. At 35, Riner is already a judo legend but remains in strong form as he seeks a fourth Olympic gold medal.

Riner has won the Paris Grand Slam in back-to-back years, and in 2023, he captured his record-extending 11th world title. In the process, he also became the oldest man to win a world title in judo — 16 years after becoming the youngest.

With a career that's included a 10-year unbeaten run from 2010-2020, Riner has long been the man to beat in men's heavyweight (100+kg) judo. After winning the 2012 and 2016 Games, he entered the Tokyo Olympics with aspirations of a threepeat but surprisingly lost in the quarterfinals. Riner bounced back to earn an individual bronze medal before later helping France win the mixed team event to earn the third gold medal (and fifth medal overall) of his Olympic career.

Riner is currently tied for the all-time lead for Olympic judo medals and, between his individual tournament and the mixed team event, should have two chances to add to his total and break the record.

Clarisse Agbegnenou back on top after becoming a mother

On the women's side, another French athlete is nearing a record of their own. In 2023, Clarisse Agbegnenou won her sixth world title — one shy of the women's record — just 11 months after giving birth to her first child. As of April 2024, she's won both Grand Slam events she's entered this year, setting her up as the favorite in the women's 63kg division and one of the host country's top gold-medal hopefuls overall for Paris 2024. 

Agbegnenou, 31, earned a silver medal in 2016 before winning two golds (individual and mixed team) at the Tokyo Games. She was also one of France's flagbearers for the Opening Ceremony at the last Olympics.

Abe siblings set to repeat historic Olympic success

One of the biggest stories from the Tokyo Games was the host nation's domination of the judo medal table as Japan won gold medals in nine of the 14 individual weight classes. That included wins for brother-sister duo Hifumi Abe (men's 66kg) and Uta Abe (women's 52kg), who made history by winning gold medals just minutes apart.

Since the last Olympics, both siblings have been unbeaten in IJF (International Judo Federation) competitions. They replicated their Olympic feat by both winning world titles in 2022 and 2023 (something they also did in 2018), giving them four apiece for their careers. Additionally, Uta was named the 2023 Female Judoka of the Year by the IJF.

Shohei Ono retires after back-to-back gold medals

One judoka who will be missing from Japan's team this year will be two-time reigning Olympic champion Shohei Ono. After back-to-back gold medals in the men's 73kg division (plus a silver in the mixed team event at Tokyo 2020), Ono has not competed since the last Olympics. He later announced that he was stepping away from competition and would instead shift to coaching.