Krpálek clinches Olympic gold in judo competition
The Czech Republic’s Lukáš Krpálek clinched the Czech Republic’s first-ever Olympic judo medal on Thursday winning gold in the under-100kg division in Rio. Krpálek couldn’t have faced a tougher path to gold, ousting the reigning and former world champions and the current world No. 1.
“I had to ask the guys what had happened. I was in such a euphoric state, to have reached the final and to have won, that I had to ask them what had happened, what I had done!”
In the lead up to the Games, Krpálek knew he had absolute support from his wife, with whom he spoke on the phone after his win.
The 25-year-old is the first Czech to win a medal since the Velvet Divorce with Slovakia. In the former Czechoslovakia, Vladimír Kocman secured bronze at the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980, which were boycotted by the United States. On Thursday, Krpálek dedicated his golden victory to his baby son and fellow Czech squad teammate Alexander Jurečka, who died in a scuba diving accident at Lago di Garda, Italy, last year.