August 2, 2012

Today was another historic day for the US of A in the Olympics.

As the title suggests, Kayla Harrison of the US Judo team won gold only a few minutes ago.

This was not only Kayla’s first gold medal in her first Olympics, but Kayla was the first judo player MAN or WOMAN to win a gold medal from the United States of America.




I had the fortunate opportunity to talk to Kayla before she headed over to the Olympics AND MADE FUCKING HISTORY. I wrote about our interview as well as the one I did with her MANimal teammate Travis Stevens, and the US’ first woman medalist Ronda Rousey who won bronze in 2008 and now is the Strikeforce bantamweight champion in MMA. I did not get a chance to talk to Marti Malloy who won a bronze medal (first US medal in her particular weight class) in these Games.


My article is mostly focusing on the sport itself and the competition in it, but as with many of these Olympic athletes there is another whole story of triumph just for these people to get to the Games. Stories of overcoming unspeakable adversity.

If you google “Kayla Harrison” you’ll quickly find dozens of articles focusing on that aspect of her life and the hero she is for being able to overcome her past to be where she is today. It’s terrible what she went through and I believe anyone who reads or knows about it is amazed at how she emerged from the other side of it and evolved into this incredible strong person she is today and has been for many years to be able to put those hardships behind her.

But today… today is about Kayla’s judo. And, Kayla’s judo won her a gold medal in the Olympics.

After she defeated Great Britain’s Gemma Gibbons, Kayla ran off the mat and jumped into her coach’s arms – Jimmy Pedro.

Jimmy kept repeating, “You are the best!”

He’s fucking right.

Congratulations to Kayla Harrison.

Congratulations to Jimmy Pedro for putting together an inspiring team.

Congratulations to Marti Malloy for introducing yourself to the world by winning a bronze.

Congratulations to Travis Stevens for fighting like a man possessed and we’re all sorry that the judges were too fucking stupid to see that.

Congratulations to Nick Delpopolo for looking like Zack Morris, winning a few matches, and growing up in Westfield, NJ like me.

Congratulations to Kyle Vashkulat for making the team and competing in the Olympics, which is realization of a dream in itself.

I won’t lie, it got real dusty in watching Kayla win gold. It got even dustier when she was given the gold and the national anthem played. And, it got a little dusty again when I wrote this post. I love sports.


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