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21 Jul 2015
IOC News

Edith Bosch on the joy of the podium

Dutch judoka Edith Bosch won Olympic medals in the women’s 70kg at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012. In the latest of our Words of Olympians series, she talks about the emotion and excitement of stepping onto the podium.

Born in the northern Dutch city of Den Helder on 31 May 1980, judoka Edith Bosch was only 20when she got her first taste of Olympic competition in the 70kg category at Sydney 2000.

“I didn’t believe I was going,” she says. “I started realising when I walked in the Olympic Village and it was like living a dream. Going into the dining hall with all the other athletes… I was overwhelmed. I was so young and at that point that was it. I hadn’t even had my competition, but it gave me wings.” 

Bosch was beaten in the quarter-finals by Great Britain’s Kate Howey, and eventually placed seventh after losing to Ulla Werbrouck of Belgium in the repechage semi-finals.

“Athens was really different to my first Olympics because that was more a new experience. It was so big you can’t even imagine. But when I came there [to Athens] I was just focusing on my competition.” That focus helped Bosch secure emphatic wins over Cecila Blanco of Spain in the last 16, Canada’s Catherine Roberge in the last eight and Annett Böhm of Germany in the semis. Facing Japan’s Masae Ueno in the final, she was beaten by ippon and had to settle for silver.

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That was the first of three experiences of the Olympic podium. The second came at Beijing 2008,where Bosch once again lost out to Ueno, this time in the semis, before coming back to beat Spain’s Leire Iglesias by ippon in the bronze-medal bout. The Dutchwoman completed her hat-trick four years later in London, seeing off Huang Ye-Sui of the Republic of Korea in her second repechage bout to land another bronze.

“If you’re on the podium, the first thing you think is: ‘How will it look like? How will it feel like?’,” she says, trying to explain the emotion of the moment. “And they’re all really different the medals I got, but you feel like a little child in a candy shop.”She adds: “Then you finally get it and the only thing you can do the first time is just hold it, look at it and you’re like, ‘Woah! This is a nice medal’. You think about all the things you have done to reach this.

“For the audience it’s like you’re fighting and it’s that day, but for the athletes it’s years ofpreparation tears. It’s like joy. It’s like joy. It’s pain. The medal is something to hold that you’veworked hard for, and you can have it, and you will have it all your life. That’s a little bit how it feels like. It’s fantastic.” 

Four-time European champion Bosch, who also won three world championship medals, including a gold in Cairo in 2005, retired in 2013, having become one of her country’s most successful ever Olympic judokas.

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