Kayla Harrison

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Kayla Harrison
Kayla Harrison Rio 2016c.jpg
Harrison at the 2016 Olympics
Born (1990-07-02) July 2, 1990 (age 26)
Middletown, Ohio, U.S.
Residence Danvers, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality American
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)[1]
Weight 165 lb (75 kg)
Trainer Jimmy Pedro
Rank          6th degree black belt in Judo
Notable club(s) NYAC[1]
USA Judo National Team FORCE
Website http://kaylaharrison.com/

Kayla Harrison (born July 2, 1990) is an American judoka who competes in the 78 kg weight category. She won the 2010 World Championships, gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and gold at the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Middletown, Ohio,[2] Harrison took up judo at the age of six, having been introduced to the sport by her mother, who was a black belt. She graduated from Middletown High School (Ohio) in the west side of town.[3]

She began training under coach Daniel Doyle, and won two national championships by the age of 15. However, during that period Doyle was abusing Harrison, who reported it to another judoka, who in turn told Harrison's mother. She subsequently reported this to the police.[4] Doyle was convicted and sentenced to a ten-year prison term.[4] A month after the abuse was revealed, she moved away from her home in Ohio to move to Boston to train with Jimmy Pedro and his father.[4]


She changed weight classes in 2008, from the −63 kg division to the 78 kg division. However, she couldn't compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics as the United States had not qualified in that division. She won the Junior World Championship that year, and the following year placed second, becoming the first American to compete in two Junior World Championships finals.[2]

She won the gold medal in the −78 kg category at the World Judo Championships in 2010,[5] the first American to do so since 1999 (when her coach, Jimmy Pedro, did so in Birmingham, England).[6] At the 2011 World Judo Championship in Paris, she placed third taking the bronze medal. Harrison had lost to the eventual winner, Audrey Tcheumeo of France, in her semi-final.[7]

Prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she was injured during training, having torn a medial collateral ligament.[4] On August 2, 2012, she won the Olympic title in the −78 kg category, defeating Gemma Gibbons of Britain by two yukos, to become the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in judo.[8][9] She earned a second Olympic gold medal in the same weight class in 2016 in Rio, defeating Audrey Tcheuméo of France.

On August 31, 2016 the United States Judo Association (USJA) made a batsugun promotion of Kayla to rokudan (6th Degree Black Belt) making her the youngest person in the US to ever be awarded this rank.


  1. ^ a b c Kayla Harrison. sports-reference.com
  2. ^ a b "Kayla Harrison". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Kayla Harrison High School". Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d Chadband, Ian (August 1, 2012). "US Judoka Kayla Harrison overcomes horror of sexual abuse to aim for gold". The Telegraph. Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Wenatchee's Farrar second in stage in Spain | A.M. Briefing". Seattle Times. September 9, 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2012. Kayla Harrison defeated Mayra Aguiar of Brazil in the 78-kilogram final in Tokyo to become the first American woman to win a gold medal at the judo world championships since 1984. 
  6. ^ "Kayla Harrison Wins World Championships – First American to Win Since 1999". Team USA. September 9, 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Kayla Harrison wins bronze at 2011 World Judo Championships". PRLOG. August 26, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Olympics: Harrison wins first judo gold for America". Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  9. ^ Perrotta, Tom. "How an American Took Down Judo". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 20, 2016. 

External links[edit]