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Kayla Harrison

Kayla Harrison
Judo USA

Kayla Harrison

Kayla Harrison
  • Birth date 7/02/1990
  • Birthplace Middletown, Ohio
  • Hometown Middletown, Ohio
  • Residence Wakefield, Massachusetts
  • Height/Weight 5'8"/ 171 lbs
  • Olympics 2012


Kayla Harrison’s road to Olympic glory began when she was six years old. At the behest of her mother, Harrison started taking judo as a means of self-defense, and she soon grew to love the sport. A training partner of former American judoka Ronda Rousey in 2008 when the current MMA superstar earned a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, Harrison got her shot at the Olympics four years later. She advanced to the final in London, where she faced off against Great Britain’s Gemma Gibbons, easily the favorite of the local crowd. With the victory over Gibbons, Harrison became the first – and so far, only – American to win a gold medal in judo. Five months before her triumph though, Harrison had partially torn her ACL. Although she was able to overcome it to win Olympic gold, she ultimately had to undergo reconstructive surgery afterwards and spent a year on the sidelines. Harrison – who trains under the tutelage of the renowned Jimmy Pedro – has since come back and regained her status as one of the world’s top half heavyweights (78kg/172 lbs), meaning her competitors will have their work cut out for them to prevent the Ohio native from defending her Olympic title.
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Getting to know Kayla Harrison


2012 Olympic gold medalist


Back-to-back World Masters champion (2015, 2016)


Two-time Pan American Games champion (2011, 2015)

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