Gemma Gibbons (GB) – Audrey Tcheumao (FRA)
1/2 Finals Judo < 78 kg.
Location: ExCel Exhibition Centre, London
“I love you Mum!”. A scream coming from very deep. Fists clenched. Then moving to the mouth. She cannot believe what just happened. Tears start flooding. Its August 2nd and I am in London.
Vladimir Putin and David Cameron are in the Judo Hall as well. They would later see the Russian Tagir Khaibulaev taking the golden medal. But the gold that shined the most was the silver medal of Gemma Gibbons.
Gibbons started the tournament placed 42nd on the world ranking. Giving her little chance to win a medal. But she proved differently. Having beaten higher ranked opponents leading up to the semi-final. Against favourite Audrey Tcheumao from France. The match was very tight. During 5 minutes of the regulated time non of the two came to a victory. Tension in the crowded stands escalated. It was in 2000 that the last TeamGB judo medal was awarded. A sudden drop in Tcheumao’s attention led to a quick respond from Gibbons. And she got her decisive ippon with a smart counter.
Staring through my lens I saw an eruption of emotions. Goosebumps all over. The crowd made it impossible for me to hear at that moment what she cried. But reading her story somewhat later and looking at the results of my photoshoot I got Goosebumps again. Gibbons ‘mother had died of leukaemia years earlier. Her mother that stimulated 6 year old Gemma to take on Judo.
I do believe that all hardships come out on those defining moments in live. Although she lost the final later that same day, no-one could get that smile of her face.
She will always be an Olympic Medallist!