Weight category: -57kg
Achievements: London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, 2013 World Championship silver medallist, Pan American Games champion 2015.
I started judo recreationally with my brothers when I was six years old. After I won my first tournament a few months later I was hooked on the competition aspect and set my goals on being one of the world's best.
Representing Team USA
Athletics in the USA is very popular. Unfortunately judo is not one of the more popular sports and not many people know how difficult it really is to be good at. But being able to say you are among the best in the world at a sport that I'm very passionate about makes me very proud and honoured to be an American representative for judo.
My first Olympic Games was above and beyond my expectations. Although I was a spectator in Beijing, being a part of the entire Games as a participant in London was exhilarating and exciting. The crowds in the judo stadium were also amazing. They were uproarious for competitors from all countries, not just Britain, and were gracious about cheering for the judo they saw.
Judo is more than a sport
It wasn't until I became a teenager that I started to see how judo provides a person with more than just athletic ability. It is a sport that changes your character as well. Every day you are thrown to the ground or face failures in the dojo or competition. But you learn to get back up and try again despite that. This transfers over into all aspects of your life making you a stronger and more motivated individual.
Being a role model
Being a role model is an honour and a serious responsibility. When you have people looking to you as an example to be imitated every action you make becomes that much more important. Staying true to yourself and carrying yourself in a respectful manner are the best ways to represent what you are really about and motivate others to do the same.
Judo in USA
I believe that the level of interest in judo in the USA has increased since the success of the USA Judo team at the 2012 Olympics. It has brought judo to the forefront of popularity more than ever before and in doing so has hopefully increased participation in the sport. Only time will tell much more popular judo has become but we can only hope that it will result in more support and excitement about it.
Judo's continued growth
The World Judo Tour has created more opportunities than ever before for judokas to represent their countries on the global stage. I believe that the more chances one has to fight the better player they will become. With so many high level events hopefully the judo community as a whole will continue to improve their abilities as players and give judo more exposure as well worldwide.
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