From the NY Times:

Rousey beat Germany’s Annett Boehm, 10-0, for the bronze at 70 kilograms. She won with a 10-point yuko, which is judo terminology for sleeve throw.

At least this was corrected by a couple of people in the comments. One person bemoaned:

The way the article is currently written is like seeing a 110 on a baseball scoreboard and saying the team hit a 110 point run, rather than reading it as 1 run, 1 hit.

In fairness, I can understand part of the confusion because of the way judo scores are filled in. Having one yuko is displayed as 10 rather than 010, which I don't understand, though maybe it makes scores easier to read. A three-digit score is always higher than a 2-digit or 1-digit score, and scores with different numbers of digits may be easier for competitors to distinguish with a quick glance.

But "judo terminology for sleeve throw"? Yeah, if I were reporting for the NEW YORK TIMES on a sport I knew nothing about, where the terms were in a foreign language, I wouldn't bother to make sure I got my terms right either. For that matter, if I were the New York Times, I wouldn't bother to send someone who knew what they were talking about.

2 Responses to “Sigh”

  1. Yonah Says:


    I know what you mean, this only underscores how Judo scoring is confusing to the lay person. For example:

    If 'A' scores 5 kokas and 1 yuko against 'B' 5 yukos and 1 koka the score would read:

    A:0015 B:0051

    But what if A scored just 1 Yuko and B scored 10 Kokas – how would that look: A:0010 B:00010?

    While i've never seen a match where someone got 10 yukos or kokas, you see how this can be confusing.

  2. Andy Says:

    Yeah, you might have a situation like when Nadia Comaneci scored the first perfect 10 and they didn't have enough digits on the scoreboard — kind of the Olympic version of the Y2K problem. 🙂

    Then there's the problem of telling a yuko from a koka in the first place, especially if you haven't watched people throw each other before.

    I suspect a good commentator with the benefit of slo-mo and one of those on-screen pens could make the scoring clear to the average American viewer. If they can explain a football play, with ten times as many moving parts, and if they can commentate on something as subjective as figure skating, they can explain why a throw was ippon vs. waza-ari, or at least explain what the ref was looking for and why the call might be difficult.

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