Jeon Ki-young (born July 11, 1973) is a South Korean judo legend who is universally considered the sport's greatest middleweight competitor, as well as one of the greatest judoka of all time.
Jeon has won three consecutive world championships (1993, 1995, 1997), twice beating the Japanese judo legend Hidehiko Yoshida in dramatic fashion in the finals, including once in Yoshida's home court in Japan. He has also won six world cup titles.
The crowning moment in Jeon's judo career came in winning the gold medal in the men's middleweight division at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, U.S. He defeated Armen Bagdasarov of Uzbekistan in the final match by ippon. In his march to the gold, Jeon won every match by ippon, except the 1st round match against the Dutch judoka Mark Huizinga, who would go on to dominate the weight once Jeon himself retired.
Jeon retired from competition at a relatively young age of 25 in 1999, citing both knee injuries and an absence of motivation due to lack of competition. He retired undefeated in both Olympic and world championship competition.
In 2003, PRIDE FC and Antonio Inoki tried to sign Jeon to fight Yoshida under MMA rules (using the fact that Jeon have never lost against Yoshida in judo ) but Jeon refused offers.
Championships & accomplishments
- 1997 World Championships 86 kg class in Paris, France - gold medal
- 1997 French Open 86 kg class in Paris, France - gold medal
- 1997 & 1994 Austrian Open 86 kg class in Leonding, Austria - gold medal
- 1996 Olympic Games 86 kg class in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. - gold medal
- 1995 World Championships 86 kg class in Makuhari, Chiba, Japan - gold medal
- 1995 Asian Championships 86 kg class in New Delhi, India - gold medal
- 1995 Dutch Open 86 kg class in 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands - gold medal
- 1994 German Open 78 kg class in Munich, Germany - gold medal
- 1993 World Championships 78 kg class in Hamilton, Canada - gold medal
- 1993 French Open 78 kg class in Paris, France - gold medal