Judo has been an Olympic sport since 1964. In the United States, there’s no place that’s played a bigger role in its growth than in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley – San Jose.
CCTV’s Mark Niu reports.
The US Judo team prepares for RioJudo has been an Olympic sport since 1964. In the United States, there's no place that's played a bigger role in its growth than in the heart of California's Silicon Valley - San Jose. CCTV's Mark Niu reports.
The San Jose State Judo team has won 50 of the 55 national U.S. collegiate championships. And now, not one, but two judoka from the gym are headed to the Rio Olympics.
Colton Brown will do battle in his first Olympics ever.
30-year-old Marti Malloy, who became the second U.S. woman to ever earn an Olympic Judo medal with a Bronze in London, heads to Rio for likely her last shot at Gold.
“Every day when I wake up, every day when I come in here, I don’t imagine myself on the mat in Rio doing anything but throwing my hands up in the air and winning the Gold,” Malloy said.
She’s won the Pan American Championship Gold three times in a row. Even Mixed Martial Arts champion and Hollywood Star Ronda Rousey – the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo — recalls losing to her growing up, though Malloy remembers it differently.
“I honestly, I always say it. I don’t remember. I think it’s because she beat me so many times as kids,” she said. “Those losses stand out to me a lot, I used to go back to my Judo club and get ragged on just get in trouble for making the same mistakes and losing in the same way to her by her arm bar.”
Though she has no plans to enter the world of Mixed Martial Arts, Malloy has her own signature armbar as well. She’s also earned degrees in Advertising and Mass Communication from San Jose State, all while training for world class competitions.
The San Jose State Judo program has produced 22 Olympians and four Olympic Medalists. And at the heart of it all is a man that’s been there from the very beginning.
Ninety-six-year-old Yoshihiro Uchida — the highest ranking Judoka in the Unites States – started San Jose State’s Judo program 70 years ago.
He was the first U.S. Olympic Judo coach ever in 1964 and a pioneer in creating weight divisions, which opened up the sport to competitors of all sizes.
“We changed Judo in the United States and in fact, then we pushed through the Olympics, and then it went to Olympics and then changed the whole world,” Uchida, who plans to attend the games in Rio, said.
Malloy is thrilled, saying there’s nothing quite like seeing the faces of those who’ve been on the long journey with you to help draw out your very best.