Kayla Harrison

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Kayla Harrison
Kayla Harrison.JPG
Harrison signing pictures in Bucky Dent Park, Hialeah, Florida
Personal information
Nationality American
Born (1990-07-02) July 2, 1990 (age 26)
Middletown, Ohio
Residence Marblehead, Massachusetts
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg)
Website http://kaylaharrison.com/
Country  United States
Sport Judo
Club NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE
Coached by Jimmy Pedro

Kayla Harrison (born July 2, 1990) is an American judoka. She won the Junior World Championship in 2008, and was runner-up in 2009. In 2010 she won the World Judo Championships, and in 2012 she was the gold medalist at the London Olympics in the women's −78 kg division.

Early life[edit]

Born in Middletown, Ohio,[1] Harrison took up judo at the age of six, having been introduced to the sport by her mother, who was a black belt. 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.[2] Doyle was convicted and sentenced to a ten-year prison term.[2] 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.[2]


Kayla Harrison with a fan

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.[1]

She won the gold medal in the −78 kg category at the World Judo Championships in 2010,[3] the first American to do so since 1999 (when her coach, Jimmy Pedro, did so in Birmingham, England).[4] 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.[5]

Prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she was injured during training, having torn a medial collateral ligament.[2] 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 only American to win an Olympic gold medal in judo.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b "Kayla Harrison". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  2. ^ 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 2 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Wenatchee's Farrar second in stage in Spain | A.M. Briefing". Seattle Times. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 2 August 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. 
  4. ^ "Kayla Harrison Wins World Championships – First American to Win Since 1999". Team USA. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Kayla Harrison wins bronze at 2011 World Judo Championships". PRLOG. 26 August 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Olympics: Harrison wins first judo gold for America". Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Perrotta, Tom. "How an American Took Down Judo". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 

External links[edit]