In order to be globally ranked in judo, athletes must earn points by defeating opponents in international competitions. The better an athlete finishes in an event, the more points he or she receives. An athlete's total point allotment throughout the year determines his or her ranking.
Some competitions are weighted higher than others. For example, athletes earn the most points by winning a medal in the Olympics. Winning a World Championship earns them the next highest amount of points. World Championships are held once a year, except for an Olympic year.
Athletes also earn points by competing in Masters, Grand Slams, Grand Prixs and Continental Championships. Judo World Cup competitions are worth the least amount of points. There are many of these held across the globe each year.
The 14 best female judo athletes, one per country, qualify for the Olympics in one of seven weight classes. The best 22 male athletes according to the world ranking will qualify in each weight class, with the same rule of one participant per country. Additional spots are offered through continental quotas, and one spot is reserved in each weight class for the Olympic host nation.