Japan’s Abe Hifumi and Abe Uta took “family goals” to a new level at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.
The siblings made history by becoming the first brother-sister duo to win Olympic gold medals in individual sports on the same day. On top of that, they did it in the same sport and won their medals within minutes of one another at the Nippon Budokan.
Uta got things started by winning the gold medal bout in the women’s 52kg judo final against France's Amandine Buchard. The 21-year-old younger sibling beat Brazil’s Larissa Pimenta in the Round of 16, eventual bronze medalist Chelsie Giles of Great Britain in the quarterfinals and another eventual bronze medalist in Italy’s Odette Giuffrita in the semifinals. Uta beat Buchard after the bout went to a golden score.
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Just minutes later, Hifumi defeated Georgian judoka Vazha Margvelashvili in the men’s 66kg judo final. Hifumi’s run to the final included victories over France’s Kilian Le Blouch, Mongolia’s Baskhuu Yondonperenlei and Brazil's Daniel Cargnin.
“This has turned out to be the greatest day ever,” Hifumi said. “I don’t think we, as brother and sister, couldn’t shine any brighter on this stage known as the Tokyo Olympics.”
The 24-year-old joked before the Olympics about the pressure of winning gold knowing his younger sister could accomplish the feat ahead of him.
“As her bigger brother, I can't afford to lose,” he said.
Hifumi’s Olympic journey almost did not happen at all. He was named the 14th and final member of Japanese national team by winning the first ever single match Olympic qualifier in December, requiring 20 minutes of golden score before emerging victorious.