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Japan’s judo team for Atlanta 1996 included three brothers: Yoshio, Yukimasa and Kenzo Nakamura. All of them harboured realistic medal hopes. Yoshio was a former lightweight world champion, but he could only finish equal seventh place in the half-heavyweight class.
Yukimasa, ,meanwhile, reached the final of the half-lightweight class, where he came up against a familiar opponent in the guise of Germany’s Udo Quellmalz. The pair had met the previous year in the World Championship final, where Quellmalz came out on top. This time it went down to the very wire, with the match ending scoreless. The judges backed Quellmalz by 2-1, leaving Nakamura with silver.
That left the youngest of the three brothers Kenzo, who was entered into the lightweight competition. He had the least impressive pedigree of the three, but he had beaten the 1995 world champion Daisuke Hideshima during the Japanese trials.
In Atlanta he eased his way through the competition in considerable style, but then he found himself up against the formidable South Korean Kwak Dae-sung in the final. It proved a slow, technical contest, with Nakamura penalised early on for being too passive. However, with just seconds left, Dae-sung was himself penalised, leaving the two athletes tied as the clock signalled the end of the bout. Once again it was down to the judges to determine the victor, and this time the decision went the way of the Nakamura family, with Kenzo taking gold.