In episode 18, I talk with Ilias Iliadis. He is truly one of the legends of judo, an Olympic gold and bronze medalist, two-time world champion, and 5-time world medalist. And still only 26 years old (turning 27 two days after the interview and of course training on his birthday). We talk about his birthday two days after the interview, his son and daughter, his father and coach, starting at a young age, the 2004 Olympics, the 2010 and 2011 world championships, Mark Huizinga, Varlam Liparteliani, Mark Anthony, winning international tournaments in four different weight classes (73kg, 81kg, 90kg, 100kg), Teddy Riner, 2013 world championships, ogoshi, seoi nage, no-gi, and more.
Thank you to Teo BJJ for hosting us for the interview. And thank you to my friend Niko for helping make it all happen.
Video Version of Interview
Ilias Iliadis on when he first thought he could be an Olympic gold medalist:
“When I was young I dreamed I could be Olympic champion. I believed it then. But it happened even faster than in my dreams.”
Ilias Iliadis on learning from a loss:
“I believe when you lose you learn. You gain experience.”
Ilias Iliadis on maintaining the edge on the best in the world:
“If you want to take the tile, you have to be training, always. When I’m training, I think of my opponent and how he is training. I want to always be training more than my opponent.”
Ilias Iliadis on there not being any one element that is most important for a throw:
“In judo, when you do a technique, you need your whole body.”
Ilias Iliadis on the uncertainty of a judo match:
“Every competition is important for me, and every competition I think I can win. But this is judo. Everybody has a chance.”
Iliad Iliadis on whether he likes the new judo rules:
“We are athletes. We can’t change anything. All we can do is fight and win.”