Kayla Harrison may look like the girl next door from many an American neighborhood, but she is a bright smiling, blonde-haired, blue-eyed tough cookie in a sport not for sissies! Judo is a tough sport, requiring strength and savvy to throw opponents, but abide by somewhat stringent rules in the process. Today, Harrison has the honor of giving something to her country that no one has given before, an Olympic gold medal in judo.
As impressive as her strength in taking her British opponent, Gemma Gibbons, in the 78 kilogram final. Today, was her spirit, bounding into the stands for embraces, beaming her smile, as if barriers and steps were nonexistent. US soccer gold medalist herself, Amy Wambach, sent congratulations on Twitter saying Kayla's strength left her "impressed" but her flight into the stands was even more of a "Wow."
Smiling and wrapped in the American flag, following her flight to the stands, she described her dedication in attaining this goal as "my purpose." Harrison's medal was unique in being the first US gold in the sport, but teammate, Marti Malloy took bronze in the 57-kilogram division earlier. The dual win does have the ring of destiny.
Harrison's strength and spirit had to be full throttle for her matches, because her ippon move, which allowed her to dispense of some opponents in less than a minute, allowed her to throw Gibbons twice in her victory match today. Ippon moves are those judged to be victorious in a match by a single move. Kayla Harrison, who was ranked 4th in the world before today, will have many more memories and career moves to make now as one of the very elite women to win Olympic gold. Wow is the word, Kayla!