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Fourth-Place Medal

Why do judo, taekwondo and wrestling award two bronze medals?

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

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Two bronzes makes for a crowded podium. (Getty)

In judo, taekwondo and wrestling, two bronze medals are given out to each weight class. This doesn't happen in any other sports, so why in this one?

[ Related: Cuban judoka beats man 243 lbs. heavier ]

There are a few different reasons. For one, the bracket is drawn that way. Losers of early matches go into repechage, or what is often called consolations or wrestlebacks in the U.S. The winners of the repechage brackets face the losers of the semifinals for the two bronzes.

Two, it's about timing. Squeezing in another match would make it more difficult to get each weight class done in one day.

In a combat sport where head-to-head combat is part of the game, it seems like a no-brainer to let the two bronze medalists compete, but getting it done in one day would be tough.

It warrants noting that boxing also gives out four medals. There is no repechage in Olympic boxing but all semifinalists are guaranteed a medal. The two losers of the semifinal matches each get a bronze.

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