Matsumoto told AFP the training “completely changed” between London and the next games in Rio.
Haruka Tachimoto, who won gold in Rio, said that she had been like a “moving robot” until the change in regime. “I was just doing what I was told to do.”
After coming seventh in London, she realized she had to force through reform herself. “I wanted to change… I watched and listened to various things and people, and studied not only my competitors but also myself.”
Yamaguchi, who spoke to women in the Japan team who suffered abuse at the time, said “men could have endured the same thing without complaining,” because the traditional norm of not talking back to your instructors was so strong among men.
It was “women’s spirit of bucking mainstream values” that changed the system, she said.
Despite better equality for female judoka, there is still a glass ceiling when it comes to the coaching set-up, she said.
“It was very regrettable that we couldn’t have a female head coach for the women’s national team for Tokyo 2020 even though there are many women who are qualified,” Yamaguchi said.
“I hope we’ll have a female head coach for the 2024 Paris Games,” said Yamaguchi.