I was under the impression that, as an avid Olympics lover, people knew the name of Kayla Harrison. It was this assumption I went off of; but, as I asked around a study room, I came across a different realization.
What? People didn’t know who Kayla Harrison is?!
There are a million places to begin, but let’s start at the top:
She’s a badass.
Kayla Harrison is the first female American to ever win an Olympic Gold in the sport of Judo. If you don’t know what Judo is, I suggest looking up some videos; but here’s a quick run-down!
Judo is a method of defending oneself without the use of weapons; it is much like jujitsu, but it bans dangerous blows and throws that could stress the sport itself. This sport was developed in Japan, and the ultimate goal is to wrestle your opponent to the ground. If anybody excels at this, it’s Kayla Harrison. Competing in the 78-kg weight class, Kayla took home the gold for the USA at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. This wasn’t her first experience with a gold, however; On August 2, 2012, she won the Olympic title, defeating Gemma Gibbons of Britain, to become the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in judo.
Kayla began her interest with this sport at the age of 6, following in the shoes of her mother, who wore a black belt for the sport. A native of Ohio herself, she graduated from Middletown High School (as if you needed another reason to love her!). Simply obtaining a black belt wasn’t enough for her, though. On August 31, 2016 the United States Judo Association (USJA) promoted Kayla to a 6th Degree Black Belt, making her the youngest person in the US to ever be awarded this rank. Is there anything Kayla Harrison can’t do?
“Judo is… My life. It’s a way of life,” Kayla says in an interview for the “I am Judo” organization. “Every day when I wake up, it’s the first thing I think about, and every night when I go to sleep, it’s the last thing I think about.”
However, Kayla’s life wasn’t always easy. She is an activist for women who have experienced sexual abuse, something she has been very up-close with. She speaks out for the cause, encouraging women and men who have experienced similar tragedies to speak up, speak out, and get help. If you want to hear more about her life-changing upbringing, I encourage you attend the upcoming event!
Hurry; if you want to #OUABringHomeTheGold, you better get there fast before all the tickets are gone!
When: Thursday, October 27 at 7:30pm
Where: Ohio Union Performance Hall
Tickets available at the Ohio Union Info Desk, 2 per BuckID.
Written by: Chloe ten Brink