The dress rehearsal was at the Grand Slam Paris on February 9 when a victory over Japan’s Wahana Koga won Daria Bilodid still another gold medal. A normal training regimen over the following five-plus months would have culminated this summer on her sport’s ultimate competitive stage in Tokyo, the birthplace of judo.
For the last several years or even longer, the focus has been on winning Olympic gold, the only feat the 19-year-old athlete has not yet accomplished. She was set to enter her first Olympics as the clear favorite, ranked No. 1 in her weight class (48 kg) since 2018. Now there must be a re-focus, dedicated training for more than another year and hopefully a challenging competition with the cancellation of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.