Kayla Harrison won her second back-to-back gold in Rio Olympics 2016 judo. She proved that she remains unbeatable since her first win in London Olympics 2012. Following this victory, the talk about her move to join Ronda Rousey in professional fighting became a trend.
Harrison showed a series of very aggressive moves during the early matches in the judo tournaments. She defeated Slovenia’s Anamari Velensek with a chokehold and France’s Audrey Tcheumeo through pinning her down on the ground.
Prior to the tournament, Harrison revealed that she has already imagined herself fighting against Brazil’s Mayra Aguiar. She visualized her winning gold “nine times out of ten” in Rio.
In the semi-finals, however, an unexpected Aguiar loss left Harrison surprised. She’ll be grappling with Tcheumeo instead. NBC Olympics reported it was an intriguing final round for no. 1 and no. 2 in the same weight class.
The recent tournament was the biggest challenge for both judokas as neither of them got points in the first four minutes. Yet, six seconds before the time ended, Harrison was able to pin down Tcheumeo. Her French opponent was forced to tap the ground.
The same source cited Harrison’s win as the fifth woman who’s able to defend her Olympic title since 1992. Certainly, the 26-year-old judoka became the first American woman to earn successive gold medals.
Behind her success was an inspiration and ground-breaking truth about her past. Her former judo trainer Daniel Doyle sexually abused her when she was 13, Slate noted. The incident was done continuously for almost three years.
At 15, she won her first Olympic Games. However, she felt oppressed in a way her self-respect and worth were questioned.
Consequently, she used her dark past to establish her charity. She built “Fearless Foundation” which is a program to help the sexually abused individuals to find healing and strength through learning the fundamentals of judo.
In the meantime, NBC Olympics highlighted that MMA has been courting Harrison to join Ronda Rousey, who is also a fellow judoka, in professional fighting.
Like her, Rousey was an Olympian and earned medal back in 2008 during the Beijing Olympics. Now, she’s a professional fighter. Will Kayla Harrison follow her footsteps?
Photo courtesy: Instagram.com/@judo_kayla