Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

76. Ryoko Tani

Age: 27

She is Japan's judo and drama queen. Tani won consecutive Olympic golds in Sydney and in Athens, a first for a judo wrestler, and she's looking to take her third as a new mom. Nicknamed "Yawara-chan" after the character in a well-known judo manga, Tani also made headlines in Japan for her extravagant and much publicized Paris wedding to Yomiuri Giants star outfielder, Yoshitomo Tani, in 2003. A judoka with seven world titles, Tani nearly missed qualifying for the Beijing team having given birth just a few months before national qualifiers. But the 4-ft. 10-in. champion, who reigns in the 48 kg (106 lb.) division, has had a rebirth in the sport and takes it into Beijing.