Until Thursday, the United States has never won a gold medal in judo. Kayla Harrison changed all that when she upset Gemma Gibbons to win the gold in the women's 78kg judo competition on Thursday morning at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
She beat Gibbons by yuko in the gold medal final. Prior that match, she pulled off the underdog victory over Mayra Aguiar from Brazil to advance. The judo competition has been a part of the Olympic competitions since 1964.
Beating the odds is nothing new for Harrison. A native of Middletown, Oh., she was sexually abused by her judo coach as a youth. Rather than give up the sport, she focused on it even more, relocating to Wakefield, Ma., to work with a new coach and use her commitment as a means to overcome past wounds.