Ayumi Tanimoto

I watched Ayumi Tanimoto defeat some frenchwoman in the 63kg judo final. A minute or so into the round, Decosse tried to sweep Ayumi but missed, and Ayumi used the opportunity to grab Decosse and throw her for a convincing ippon. The cameras zoomed in on their faces. Ayumi burst into tears and jumped onto her coach, sheer joy. I tried to imagine her happiness, the culmination of years of training, condensed into a single throw, ecstasy. Would I ever know this? For Decosse, defeat. The judge motioned for her to get up as she sat stunned on the mat, the commentator saying something about the blank look in her eyes. It can still be beautiful to fail. The bar asks all sorts of questions of you. You look inside and hope you have an answer.

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