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2012 Olympics: Kayla Harrison Becomes First American to Win Gold Medal in Judo

(Harrison [top] grapples with Gemma Gibbons of Great Britain during the gold medal match earlier today. Photo props: SFGate)

Without throwing around too many spoilers, it’s been a monster of a day for American women at the 2012 Olympics. And for martial arts fans, it’s a historic one, as women’s 78kg competitor Kayla Harrison became the first American athlete ever to win a gold medal in judo. She’s just the second American woman to medal at the Olympics, following Strikeforce champĀ Ronda Rousey (her former training partner), who took bronze in 2008. Women’s 57kg competitor Marti Malloy also won a bronze on Monday, making the 2012 London games the first Olympics since 1998 in which the USA has earned two medals in judo.

Harrison, who entered this year’s competition ranked fourth in the world, reached the finals by defeating Vera Moskalyuk (Russia), Abigel Joo (Hungary), and world-ranked #1 Mayra Aguiar (Brazil), all by ippon. She faced Great Britain’s Gemma Gibbons in the gold-medal match, and won 2-0 on a pair of yukos. In your face, world.

After the jump: A Boston Globe video-profile on Harrison’s life and training, and a TV-shot video of the end of her finals match against Gibbons.

Cagepotato Comments

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dank- August 6, 2012 at 9:18 am
Her ex coach f*cked her? Was he that desperate? She's ugly
dhdfhf- August 3, 2012 at 10:06 pm
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shatterproof- August 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm
@Darkside -- haha, fair 'nuff.
RwilsonR- August 2, 2012 at 10:07 pm
Canadians being Canadians... always having to whine about feeling inadequate.
Todd M- August 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm
making the 2012 London games the first Olympics since 1998 in which the USA has earned two medals in judo. Ummmm, Snow Judo? In Nagano? That's Unpossible!
Darkside- August 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Because nobody cares about Canada. Sorry bro.
NomadRip- August 2, 2012 at 7:14 pm
Here's a decent article on Kayla's story (written before the win).
NomadRip- August 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm
I don't think the author knows that Marti Malloy is a woman, based on the way this article is worded. Kayla is now the third American Woman to medal in Olympic Judo.
Kayla's story is great, but I hope she doesn't drop weight and come after Ronda.
shatterproof- August 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm
Not that i take issue with a little Olympic coverage but why this and not the 22-seeded Canadian winning a medal, or the fact that her opponent made it to the finals despite a 100-seeded ranking? Meh, Americans will be Americans :)
Onan- August 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm
And non-Americans will continue to be...
O Chan- August 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm
Not to make it a focus on the bigger story, but the fact that she overcame that thing with her old coach shows amazing heart. Most people would probably walk away from the sport, but for her to stick with it and win gold, fucking awesome.
Fried Taco- August 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm
FYI, Marti won bronze on Monday. They have been doing a single weight class per day, one for women and one for men. Tomorrow is the last day.
Doyley21- August 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm
skeletor- August 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm
Doesn't matter, she's ugly.