Toshihiko Koga

Japanese Olympic judo gold medalist Toshihiko Koga died on Wednesday at the age of 53. Though the cause of death has not yet been released, Koga had been treated for cancer last year.

Known for possessing one of the greatest ippon seoi nage, or shoulder throws, in judo history, Koga made his first Olympics in 1988 though he failed to medal. But the following year he captured the world championship at 71 kg and repeated as world champion in 1991. He won gold at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics despite a leg injury that hampered his trade mark ippon seoi nage. After a brief retirement, he returned to competition winning the 78 kg class at the 1995 world championships and then taking a silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Stepping away from competition for good, he became a coach with the Japanese women's national team.

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Photo Courtesy: Dawson Holt via Instagram

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