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How a Middletown woman took down judo

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Posted at 4:43 PM, Jul 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-19 17:08:30-04

No one from the U.S. had ever taken home a gold medal in judo, until a Middletown woman became the best in the world in her weight class at the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

Now, Kayla Harrison is set on bringing home another gold medal in Rio’s Olympic Games, WCPO’s news partner, The Wall Street Journal, reports.

Harrison’s event is scheduled for Aug. 11, and she will need four or five consecutive wins in the same day in order to get the gold. Coming out on top at this year’s Olympic Games is not a sure thing. The 26-year-old lost early in last year’s world championships and took home a bronze medal in 2014.

One thing that is certain is the gold medalist's commitment to the sport. She could make millions if she decided to join the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the mixed martial arts competition.

“Do I really want to start all over in another sport and have a completely new athletic career at the age of 26? I don’t know. I want to stay involved in judo,” Harrison told The Wall Street Journal.

Broad-shouldered and standing at 5 feet 8 inches, the 165-pound athlete would have to lose 30 pounds in order to fit into UFC weight classes. 

For now, Harrison will remain involved with judo. USA Judo, the sport’s governing body, has sold few tickets and sponsorships to its national tournament. But it recently signed an agreement for Harrison to run the national championships for five years starting in 2018.