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Dutch Olympian Anicka van Emden retires as top judoka

9 Jan 2017 14:25    David Finch /
20160809_Rio2016_Finch_A6490 van Emden

Dutch Olympic medallist Anicka van Emden retires as top athlete. Van Emden won World bronze in 2011 and 2013 and highlighted her career in Rio with Olympic bronze. In 2011 she won European silver followed by bronze in 2014 and 2016 and she claimed 13 Grand Slam medals.

Van Emden: I have decided to retire from competitive judo. Actually not a really hard decision, but I've given myself time to change my mind. However, my gut tells me this is the right decision. I've accomplished my goal, my Olympic dream has become reality.
It has been a terrific journey! Ups and downs along the way, but I've enjoyed every second of it, especially the last four years. After 2012 I realised that you don't always get out all the hard work you put in and therefore I should enjoy my successes and the journey. How often you hear retired athletes say they didn't enjoy success as much as they should have? I decided I was not going to be one of those athletes. 
Successes, I had quite a few of those. I am proud when I look back at my judo career. Three European Championship medals, two World Championship medals, Olympic bronze and twenty-nine World Tour medals including 13 Grand Slam medals. Almost 23 years I've dedicated my life to performing at my best on the tatami. I could not have done this without the team of experts around me and the support of my boyfriend, family, friends and sponsors. Now it's time for other challenges. Time for a life without elite sports, a life that I can now fully explore :) 
What I will miss the most? The adrenaline rush during a competition day, that euphoric feeling after winning a medal and the trainingcamps in my favourite Japan. What I absolutely will not miss is ebi, judoka will know ;) weighing scales and musty airplanes. 
Being an elite athlete has enriched my life. But there is more to life than just judo. Besides, I just reached the pensionable age of 30. It's been wonderful, I couldn't have wished for a better ending of my career! 
Thank you to everyone who contributed to it, I am a grateful and happy woman! 
With love, Anicka

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Anicka van Emden (NED) - 2016 Olympic Games day 4 Judo U81kg & U63kg (2016, BRA) - © IJF Media Team, IJF
  • Tina Trstenjak (SLO), Clarisse Agbegnenou (FRA), Yarden Gerbi (ISR), Anicka van Emden (NED) - 2016 Olympic Games day 4 Judo U81kg & U63kg (2016, BRA) - © IJF Media Team, IJF
  • Anicka van Emden (NED) - World Championships Rio de Janeiro (2013, BRA) - © IJF Media Team, IJF

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Judo birthday

Result City Date
1Rio de Janeiro2016
Result City Date
1Rio de Janeiro2016