Congratulations! Kayla Harrison


Rio Olympic Games 2016

Kayla Harrison – Second Olympic Gold Medal Performance - London in 2012 & Rio in 2016



Kayla Harrison made more history at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  She successfully defended her Olympic title by winning Gold, again in the Women’s -78KG Division, as she had done in the 2012 London Games.  Her domination and power was evident in all four wins – two by osaekomi and two by kansetsu waza.  She pinned her first opponent, Zhehui Zhang of China, for Ippon in a match that lasted only 43 seconds.  Kayla’s second match was against Abigel Joo of Hungary and, after several exchanges that did not produce any scores, Abigel was penalized for stepping out of the contest area at 60 seconds into the match.  Kayla then secured a pin for Ippon that ended the match after only 1 minute and 45 seconds.  In the semifinals, she defeated Anamari Velensek of Slovenia by arm bar submission 1 minute and 40 seconds into the match, thus propelling Kayla into the Gold Medal match.  Her opponent was Audrey Tcheumeo of France who is ranked #2 in the World Rankings (Kayla is ranked #1).  Kayla came out “on fire” with a flurry of attacks resulting in Tcheumeo receiving a shido for non-combativity after 53 seconds into the match.  Another penalty was given 1 minute and 10 seconds into the match to Tcheumeo for ducking under Kayla’s grip.  With only 8 seconds left in the 4 minute match, Kayla secured an arm lock, causing Tcheumeo to tap out.  The victory resulted in the Gold Medal being awarded to Kayla, the American Flag being raised and our National Anthem being played.


Congratulations and a big “Thank You” to Kayla Harrison and her coaches – Jimmy Pedro and “Big Jim” Pedro, as well as all other who helped her attain this great accomplishment.  The U.S. now has 2 Olympic Gold Medals in Judo – both belong to Kayla, a Middletown, Ohio native now residing in Massachusetts.  Kayla, you have trained hard, fought well, had many outstanding accomplishments and remain a wonderful person.  Best wishes for a bright and rewarding future.  




London Olympic Games 2012

Congratulations to KAYLA HARRISON!!!!!

Kayla wins the First Olympic GOLD Medal for the USA in the sport of Judo


     Kayla Harrison made history today by becoming the first United States Judo competitor (male or female) to reach the top pedestal at any Olympic Games by winning the Gold Medal in the 2012 London Games.  Her feat included wins featuring tachi waza (throwing techniques) and newaza (ground techniques).  Her first match ended with an ippon when she successfully applied an arm bar against Russia’s Vera Moskalyuk.  In her second match, after getting caught for waza-ari, Kayla came back by scoring yuko with a hip throw and then ippon with a driving osoto against Hungary's Abigel Joo.  Mayra Aguiar of Brazil, ranked No. 1 in the World was Kayla’s third opponent and provided a hard fought match with ferocious gripping.  Kayla scored yuko with ko soto gari to win the semi-final match.  In the finals, Kayla dominated the action against a gamey Gemma Gibbons of Great Britain.  Scoring yukos on harai goshi and koshi garuma, with no scores against her, secured the gold medal for Kayla, putting her on the top level of the awards platform in the 70K category.

     Kayla proved to be a wonderful representative of the U.S. and the sport of Judo at the London Games, not only by winning the first ever Gold medal in Judo for the U.S., but by her comportment and mental focus and control throughout the event.  With all the anticipation of the potential history making opportunity, the pressure on this young lady must have been extreme, but she did not seem to let it interfere with her goal.  She appeared calm, confident and in control throughout her matches.  Great credit goes to Kayla, Jimmy Pedro (her full time coach, as well as the USA Olympic Coach) and Jim Pedro, Sr. (her personal coach and mentor) for developing the mental strength, as well as physical ability, to achieve her goal.  Many of us joined Kayla in an emotional release of happiness in tears as we heard the U.S. National Anthem and witnessed the Stars & Stripes being raised during the awards ceremony.

     A native of Middletown, Ohio, Kayla is well known in the judo community here for her accomplishments both as a junior and senior competitor.  She has graced our mats, as well as those around the country and indeed the world, for many years and though she moved to Massachusetts several years ago, we have followed her progress and still consider her “one of our own”.  It has been a long, and for several years very difficult, journey for this wonderful young lady from her early successes to the Olympic Podium in London to receive the 1st Gold Medal awarded to a U.S. judoka.

We are very proud of you, Kayla!!!

Russ Scherer
President of Ohio Judo (2012)

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