London 2012 Olympics: Kayla Harrison Wins First Ever USA Gold Judo

DALLAS, TX - MAY 13: Judo athlete, Kayla Harrison poses for a portrait during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 13, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The United States has never won a gold medal in judo before - until today. Kayla Harrison capped off a spectacular day by scoring two yukos (to get a points win) inside four minutes against Gemma Gibbons of Great Britain in the finals.

How good was Kayla's day? She armbarred (juji gatame) the world and Olympic number one ranked competitor, Mayra Aguiar of Brazil in the semifinals - in less than five minutes. In her opening bout, she took less than a minute to armbar the world #16 and Olympic #14 ranked Russian, Vera Moskalyuk. Her next bout saw an o-soto-gari for ippon in roughly three minutes over Abigel Joo, the world #7 and Olympic #5 ranked player.

Not a bad day's work for the world's #2 ranked judoka under -78 KG and the 2010 world champion.

Her opponent Gemma Gibbons had to go through five matches and a similarly tough schedule (the world #3 and the world #5) to get to the finals. The GIFs of the match are below the jump and show what an athletic player Kayla can be.

Follow her Twitter account here:

Both moves Kayla used to score a yuko were based on the hip toss. Her first score of the match came at roughly a minute in with a tsuri goshi and her final score came at 3:54 with a kubi nage.

Thanks to Zombie Prophe, we can see her get the kubi nage. Due to her imperfect control of GIbbons, it is scored as a yuko (small advantage) and not as a full ippon or a waza ari (half an ippon) - which is still enough to get her the win and the gold! Note Jimmy Pedro's celebration.


And we see her go into the crowd to celebrate:


And the triumphant return to the mats with the American flag.


This is a very exciting time for USA judo, with Marti Malloy achieving a bronze medal, Nick Delpopolo getting 7th and Travis Stevens getting 5th (arguably beating the silver medalist in the semi-finals).

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