The United States of America has some of the world’s best judo players. From Olympic champions to world champions, the United States has produced an impressive list of judo athletes who have solidified their place in history.
Whether it’s their technique, athleticism, or competitive spirit, these judokas have excelled in the sport and have been deservedly recognized for their accomplishments. These are some of the best judo players in the United States of America.
1. Kayla Harrison
Kayla Jean Harrison is an incredible athlete, with a long list of accomplishments. She is an American professional mixed martial artist and an Olympic and world champion judoka. She is currently signed to the Professional Fighters League.
Harrison is a formidable competitor, having excelled in the 78 kg weight category in judo. She is a five-time Pan American champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and four-time U.S. Open winner. Furthermore, she is the first American to win gold in judo in the Olympics.
Harrison is also a successful mixed martial artist, with a current record of 8-0-0. She has competed in the Professional Fighters League and is currently the reigning lightweight champion.
Her success is attributed to her long-time dedication to judo and her continued hard work in the MMA arena. Harrison is an inspiration to many, with her incredible accomplishments and her determination to continue to strive for greatness in all aspects of her life.
She is a true champion, and her dedication to her craft is admirable.
2. Katelyn Jarrell-Bouyssou
Katelyn Jarrell is a highly accomplished judo athlete from the United States. She has had great success at the national level, winning three national championships in the 48 kg division, and twice finishing third.
She has also competed at the world judo championships three times but has not been able to progress past the first round. Her impressive performance at the national level is evidence of her skill and dedication to the sport.
Her experience at the world championships has also been a valuable learning opportunity, as she has been able to compete against some of the best judo athletes in the world.
Despite not advancing past the first round, her participation in the world championships speaks to her commitment to the sport and her desire to reach her full potential.
3. Martin Boonzaayer
Martin David Boonzaayer is an exceptional athlete who has achieved great success in the sport of judo. He has represented the United States of America in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics as a member of the USA Judo team.
This impressive feat is further highlighted by the fact that he was a three-time World Team Member, Seven-time National Champion, and won Bronze at the 2003 Pan American Games.
This is a testament to his hard work and dedication to his sport, and his skill and talent have been duly recognized. He is an inspiration to all athletes, and a reminder of the power of perseverance and hard work.
4. Paul Maruyama
Paul Kuniaki Maruyama was a remarkable man and an important figure in the history of judo. He was part of the first American team to compete in judo in the Summer Olympics. It was in 1964 that judo was first included in the Olympics, which were held in Tokyo that year.
Maruyama was born in Kugayama, Tokyo in 1941. He was the son of Kunio Maruyama and his nisei wife, Mary Takeda. Nisei is a term used to refer to the children of Japanese immigrants to the United States. Maruyama’s involvement in judo is impressive and inspiring.
He was part of the first American team to compete in judo in the Summer Olympics. It was his participation in judo that helped to bring this sport to the world stage. He was also a lecturer, likely teaching judo to many.
Maruyama contributed to the popularization of judo and made a lasting impact on the Olympic Games. His talents and dedication were instrumental in the growth of judo around the world. He is remembered as an important figure in the history of judo.
5. Lynn Roethke
Lynn Joyce Roethke is an impressive athlete. She is an American female judoka, a martial art involving grappling techniques, who has achieved remarkable success in the sport.
She has competed in two Olympic Games, earning a Pan American gold medal and a World Championship silver medal.
Lynn’s accomplishments are even more impressive when considering she was the first female to be inducted to the Black Belt Hall of Fame and was voted as Olympic Athlete of the Year. Her determination and skill have earned her a place in the history books.
Lynn’s story is inspiring. From a young age, she has dedicated herself to the martial art of judo and has worked her way up to international success. Her hard work and dedication have resulted in her becoming a two-time Olympic athlete and a Pan American gold medalist.
She also received the honor of being the first female to be inducted to the Black Belt Hall of Fame and voted as Olympic Athlete of the Year. Lynn Joyce Roethke is a true example of what hard work and dedication can achieve.
She has dedicated her life to the martial art of judo and has achieved remarkable success. She has become an Olympic athlete twice, won a gold medal at the Pan American level, and has a silver medal from the World Championship.
Her commitment and determination have earned her a place in the history books, as she was the first female to be inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame and voted as Olympic Athlete of the Year.
With her impressive achievements, Lynn Joyce Roethke is an inspiration to aspiring martial artists everywhere.
6. Margaret Castro
Margaret “Margie” Castro, also known as Margaret Castro-Gomez, is an accomplished athlete from Manhattan, New York. She is best known for her remarkable accomplishments in judo, having represented the United States at the Olympic level.
She has trained and competed in judo for many years, and her hard work and dedication to the sport have earned her a place in the history books. Castro-Gomez’s career in judo began when she was a young girl growing up in New York City.
She trained under the tutelage of renowned judo instructors and eventually became a member of the United States Judo National Team. Throughout her career as a judoka, she has won numerous awards and accolades, including the prestigious Pan American Championship title.
Her success in the sport has led to her being named the US Olympic Committee Athlete of the Year in 1984. In addition to her success in the sport, Castro-Gomez has also been an advocate for the growth and development of judo in the United States.
She has worked with the US Judo Association to help promote the sport and increase its visibility in the nation.
She has also been involved in various community outreach programs that have helped to introduce judo to more people. Margaret “Margie” Castro is a testament to the possibilities that come with hard work and dedication.
She is a true inspiration for many, and her story serves as a reminder of the rewards that can come with dedication to a sport. Her legacy will live on in the annals of judo history for generations to come.
7. Jason Morris
Jason Newth Morris is an American retired judoka who was an accomplished athlete. He achieved the remarkable feat of competing in four Olympic Games and was also the coach of the 2008 Olympic team.
His most notable achievement was winning the silver medal in the –78 kg weight category in the 1992 Summer Olympics. In addition to that, he also won a bronze medal in the 1993 World Judo Championships.
Morris had a successful career in judo, achieving numerous international medals and awards. He was a five-time Pan American Champion as well as a four-time National Champion. He was also the recipient of the United States Olympic Committee’s Athlete of the Year Award in 1992.
Morris is a respected and accomplished judoka in his own right. His career accomplishments are a testament to his skill and dedication to the sport.
He is remembered fondly by his peers and fans alike and is an example of what can be achieved through perseverance and hard work.
8. Jimmy Pedro
James A. Pedro is an impressive figure in the world of judo. He is a retired World Championship and Olympic judoka and is currently a judo coach.
His vast experience and expertise has been instrumental in the success of his students, particularly Kayla Harrison who became the first American to ever win an Olympic gold medal in judo.
Pedro has earned a 7th-degree black belt in judo, an impressive accomplishment that speaks to his high level of skill. His many years of dedication have resulted in him becoming a respected figure in judo and an invaluable teacher and mentor to his students.
9. Ronda Rousey
Ronda Jean Rousey is an impressive athlete, and her accomplishments in the world of MMA, wrestling, and judo demonstrate her immense skill and dedication. She is well known for her involvement in both WWE and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
As a sign of respect and admiration, Rousey was given permission from professional wrestler Roddy Piper to use his nickname “Rowdy”. This is an indication of the respect and admiration that Rousey has earned throughout her career.
Her accomplishments have earned her a place in the history of professional wrestling and the UFC, where she is an inspiration for aspiring athletes. With her incredible success, Rousey has displayed that hard work and determination can lead to the highest heights of success.
10. Allen Coage
Allen James Coage was an outstanding athlete who excelled in judo and professional wrestling. He had a distinguished career in both sports, and was a great source of pride for the United States.
In judo, Coage was a three-time Pan American Games champion and won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. He was also the first American to win a World Championship medal in judo, capturing bronze in 1975 in France.
His success in judo earned him the nickname “Bad News”. College was also a professional wrestler, performing under the name “Bad News Brown”. He wrestled for the WWF for several years and captured the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship in 1989.
He was also the first African-American wrestler to win a world title, which he did in the Stampede Wrestling promotion. College was inducted into the Judo Hall of Fame in 2004.
His accomplishments in the world of sports were both impressive and inspirational, and his legacy will live on for many years to come.
11. Daniel McCormick
Daniel McCormick, also known as Dan McCormick, is an American judoka. Judo is a martial art and combat sport that originated in Japan in the late nineteenth century.
Dan McCormick has trained and competed in judo since a young age and has achieved a great deal of success in the sport. He represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics, competing in the judo tournament.
He was one of the few American judokas to compete in the Olympics that year. Despite not winning a medal, Dan McCormick had a great experience competing in the Olympics and representing his country.
His success in the sport has inspired many aspiring judokas to follow in his footsteps. Dan McCormick has become a role model for judoka everywhere, and his career is a testament to the hard work and dedication that goes into the sport.
12. Mike Swain
Michael Lee Swain is a renowned American judoka, having achieved an impressive level of success in the international judo circuit. He has participated in a multitude of competitions, garnering numerous accolades and awards along the way.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Michael Lee Swain has since gone on to become the Vice President of Martial Arts at Dollamur Sports LP.
In this capacity, he is responsible for developing and selling martial arts equipment, as well as acting as a spokesperson and board member for USA Judo. His expertise and extensive knowledge of the sport have made him an invaluable asset to both Dollamur Sports LP and USA Judo.
Michael Lee Swain is a truly exceptional athlete and a leader in the martial arts community.
13. Travis Stevens
Travis Stevens is an accomplished American athlete who excels in two martial arts disciplines, judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He has represented the United States in the Summer Olympics in 2008, 2012, and 2016, competing in the men’s half-middleweight division.
On August 9th, 2016, Stevens made history by becoming the first American male judoka to win a silver medal in the Olympics. This is a major achievement for Stevens and the United States, as it was the first time an American judoka had won a medal in the Olympic Games since 1984.
Stevens’ success is a testament to his hard work and dedication to his sport, as well as his passion for competing at the highest level. His performance has also paved the way for future American judokas to have the opportunity to compete and win medals in the Olympic Games.
14. Rhadi Ferguson
Rhadi Bullard Ferguson is a highly accomplished individual with a wealth of experience in the martial arts world.
He is an American former mixed martial artist, trainer, strength and conditioning coach, motivational speaker, and black belt in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. As a former mixed martial artist, Ferguson has trained for and competed in MMA fights.
He has also trained and coached other fighters for success in martial arts competitions.
Ferguson is a black belt in both judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has also trained in other disciplines, such as wrestling and kickboxing. In addition to his martial arts career, Ferguson has also worked as a strength and conditioning coach, helping athletes from all backgrounds to optimize their performance.
His experience as a motivator and speaker has enabled him to inspire others and help them to reach their goals. Ferguson’s accomplishments in the martial arts world have made him a respected figure in the industry.
He is an example for many aspiring martial artists, as he has achieved success in multiple disciplines and has used his skills to help others.
15. Angelica Delgado
Angelica Delgado is a renowned American judoka. She first competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, representing the United States in the women’s 52 kg event.
Despite the challenge of competing against some of the world’s best athletes, she was able to make it to the second round of the competition. Fast forward 5 years and Angelica Delgado has once again made the U.S. Olympic judo team.
This time, she competed in the women’s 52 kg event at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
The Olympics may have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Delgado’s commitment to her sport was unwavering, and she was able to make it to the final round of the competition. Unfortunately, she was unable to capture the gold medal and settled for the silver.
Nonetheless, Delgado has made a name for herself in the judo world and is a great example to young athletes everywhere.
16. Robert Berland
Robert “Bobby” Berland is an American Judoka who competed in the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics. He is also Jewish. In the 1984 Olympics, he won the silver medal in the Judo under the 86 kg division.
This was a remarkable achievement as he was the first American and graduate of Mather High School to receive an Olympic silver medal in judo. Berland’s success in the Judo event at the Olympics has set an example for aspiring judokas and athletes everywhere.
He has proven that with hard work and dedication, one can achieve amazing feats. His success has also been a source of pride for the Jewish community, as he was the first Jewish American to win a silver medal in Judo at the Olympics.
Berland’s Olympic success has also inspired many young athletes to pursue their dreams and strive for greatness.
17. Karo Parisyan
Karapet “Karo” Parisyan is an Armenian-American mixed martial artist who has been competing professionally since 1999.
He has had a long and successful career, winning multiple titles and competing in multiple organizations. Parisyan began his professional mixed martial arts career in 1999 and has been competing ever since.
He has competed in multiple organizations, including the WEC, UFC, Bellator, and Impact FC. In 2004, he won the WEC Welterweight Championship, becoming the first Armenian to win an MMA title.
He has also held the Combat Fighting Championships welterweight title and was the first Armenian fighter to compete in the UFC. Parisyan has been a successful athlete in the sport, having won many fights and achieving numerous titles.
His style is described as judo-based, having learned the art from his father. He has also been successful in grappling matches, having won multiple grappling tournaments. Throughout his career, Parisyan has faced some difficult challenges.
He has dealt with personal issues, such as depression and anxiety, which have affected his performance in the ring. He has also had to deal with injuries, such as a shoulder injury in 2008 which required surgery.
Despite these difficulties, he has been able to maintain a successful career in MMA, becoming a role model for Armenian fighters. Overall, Karapet “Karo” Parisyan has been a successful and inspirational figure in the mixed martial arts world.
He has achieved numerous titles and competed in multiple organizations. His judo-based style and grappling skills have been key to his success, as well as his resilience in facing personal issues and injuries.
He is a role model for Armenian fighters and has inspired many in the MMA world.
18. Jim Bregman
James Steven Bregman was an important figure in American judo history. He was a member of the first American judo team to compete in the Summer Olympics, making his mark in the world of martial arts.
He was the first American to represent the United States in the sport of judo at the Olympics.
His participation in the Summer Olympics was especially significant as it marked the first time that the United States had ever sent an official judo team to compete in the Games. Bregman had a lifelong passion for judo and was a dedicated student of the sport.
He trained and studied judo for many years, competing in tournaments and events around the world. He was an accomplished judoka, winning several major national titles and even representing the United States at the World Championships.
Bregman’s commitment to the sport was clear, and his accomplishments in judo were a testament to his work ethic and dedication to the martial art. Bregman’s appearance in the Olympics was a major milestone for American judo.
His presence in the Games represented the first time that an American judo team had ever competed in the Olympics, and his performance showed that the United States could be competitive at the highest level of the sport.
In addition, his presence in the Olympics served as an inspiration to other American judokas, encouraging them to pursue their own dreams of competing on the world stage. James Steven Bregman’s legacy lives on today, as he is remembered for his contribution to American judo and for his role in the history of the sport.
His passion for the martial art and his commitment to excellence has been an inspiration to judokas all over the world. His presence in the Olympics will always be remembered, as he helped pave the way for the United States to become a major player in the world of judo.
19. Ryan Reser
Ryan Reser is a judoka from the United States who achieved great success in the Pan-American Games. In 2007, he won the gold medal in the men’s lightweight division. He achieved this victory by defeating Brazil’s Leandro Guilheiro in the final.
This accomplishment was a great honor for the United States and a testament to Ryan’s skill and determination. In 2008, Ryan Reser was selected to represent his country at the Summer Olympics. This was a great honor and a tremendous accomplishment for Ryan.
He was chosen for his impressive performance in the Pan American Games and his dedication to the sport of judo. He was proud to represent his country at the Olympics and hoped to make his country proud.
Ryan Reser’s accomplishments in the Pan American Games and the Olympics are a source of inspiration for athletes of all levels. His determination, skill, and hard work serve as an example for all aspiring judokas.
He has shown that through dedication and hard work, anyone can achieve their dreams.
20. Alex Ottiano
Alexander R. Ottiano is a highly accomplished judoka who has achieved impressive success both in the United States and internationally.
He has won the bronze medal twice in the men’s half lightweight division at the Pan American Games, an impressive feat that speaks to his skill and dedication to the sport.
Representing his native country, Alexander has had the honor of competing in two consecutive Summer Olympics, beginning in 2000. His participation in the Olympics showcases his dedication to judo and is a testament to his hard work and commitment over the years.
Alexander’s success in judo has made him a celebrated athlete in the United States and abroad. His accomplishments on the mat have earned him the respect and admiration of both competitors and spectators alike.
He is an inspiration to aspiring judokas and has shown that hard work and dedication can lead to success.
21. Vitor Belfort
Vítor Vieira Belfort is an iconic figure in the history of combat sports. He is a Brazilian professional boxer and retired mixed martial artist who has competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Belfort has fought in the Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, and Middleweight divisions, displaying a wide array of skills. His career has spanned over two decades, and he has been successful in all of these divisions.
He has been a UFC Light Heavyweight and Middleweight champion and has also fought in the Heavyweight division for the Pride Fighting Championships and Strikeforce.
Belfort is known for his powerful striking and his aggressive style of fighting, which has earned him the nickname “The Phenom”. He has also competed in the boxing world, having won the WBC International Light Heavyweight title in 2006.
Belfort is widely considered to be one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, and his success has earned him the respect of fans and fighters alike.
22. Nick Delpopolo
Nicholas Delpopolo is an American judoka who represented his country in the 2012 Summer Olympics. He competed in the men’s 73 kg event. In the second round, he was victorious against Cheung Chi Yip, and in the third round, he triumphed against Dirk Van Tichelt.
Unfortunately, his success was short-lived, as he was eliminated in the fourth round by Wang Ki-Chun. His journey in the Olympics was ended when he was defeated by Nyam-Ochir Sainjargal in the repechages.
Despite not achieving the desired results in the 2012 Summer Olympics, Delpopolo’s determination and drive to succeed are admirable qualities that will remain with him.
23. Patrick Burris
Patrick Mitsugi Burris is a renowned judoka who has made great strides in the sport. He is most notably known for his impressive performances at the 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympic Games.
In 1972, he represented the United States in Munich and four years later he competed again in Montreal. His hard work and dedication was also rewarded with a bronze medal at the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City in the men’s lightweight division at 70 kg.
Burris has dedicated a large portion of his life to judo and has certainly enjoyed a successful career. He has been widely recognized for his contributions to the sport of judo and his commitment to excellence.
His accomplishments have also inspired many young judokas to pursue the sport and strive for excellence. Burris is an incredible example of the potential that judo has to offer and the heights that can be achieved by those who are dedicated to it.
24. Adler Volmar
Adler Volmar is an exceptional athlete who has achieved an impressive level of success in judo. He is a Haitian-American dual citizen, meaning he holds both Haitian and American citizenship.
His impressive credentials include a fourth-degree black belt in judo, the highest level of certification in the martial art. Volmar has competed on the world stage twice, first representing Haiti at the 1996 Summer Olympics and then the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
He was the first Haitian-American to compete in the Olympics for either country, making his accomplishments all the more remarkable. His dedication and commitment to judo have been an inspiration to many both in and outside the Haitian-American community.
He has demonstrated that with hard work and determination, one can achieve great things even from the most humble of beginnings. His story is an inspiration to all and a reminder of the importance of never giving up.
25. Maria Celia Laborde
Maria Celia Laborde is an impressive athlete who has achieved success in both Cuba and the United States. She was born in Cuba and began her judo career there, winning a bronze medal at the 2014 World Judo Championships in Chelyabinsk.
This was a major achievement and launched her into the international spotlight. After her success at the 2014 World Championships, Laborde went on to win a bronze medal at the 2013 Paris Grand Slam. This success allowed her to move on to represent the United States as a judoka.
She is now a dual citizen of both countries and continues to compete on the international judo circuit. Laborde is a true inspiration to athletes everywhere. She has proved that hard work and dedication can pay off, no matter what country you come from or where you live.
She is an example of what can be achieved with determination and has shown that judo can be a viable career for many athletes.
26. Hannah Martin
Hannah Martin is an American judoka, which is someone who practices the Japanese martial art of judo. She is a formidable competitor and recently made history as the silver medallist at the 2017 Judo Grand Prix Tashkent in the -63 kg weight category.
This tournament saw judokas from all over the world competing in a variety of weight classes. Hannah Martin made history by becoming the first American judoka to ever win a medal at this prestigious event.
Her silver medal finish is a testament to her hard work, skill, and dedication to the sport. She has set an example for future generations of American judokas and will continue to be an inspiration to many.
27. Rick Hawn
Rick Hawn is an athlete who has made a name for himself in both the Olympic and professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) worlds. An Olympic judoka, Hawn competed in the 2004 Athens Games.
After his Olympic days, Hawn turned his attention to professional MMA, joining Bellator MMA in 2009. Throughout his career, he achieved impressive success, winning both the Bellator Season 6 Lightweight Tournament and the Bellator Season 9 Welterweight Tournament.
He competed in Bellator MMA until 2015 when he decided to retire from the sport. Hawn is now known as a successful Olympian and a professional MMA fighter who achieved great success in the sport.
28. Hayward Nishioka
Hayward Nishioka is a multi-faceted individual. He is an experienced physical education instructor, currently working at a community college and a former judo competitor. Nishioka has a unique background, being of Japanese-American descent.
His knowledge of both Japanese culture and American culture has no doubt been beneficial to him both in the classroom and in the judo arena. As a physical education instructor, Nishioka has likely helped to shape the lives of countless students by teaching them the importance of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.
He may have also imparted his knowledge of judo to his students, giving them an opportunity to learn about a traditional Japanese martial art. As a former judo competitor, Nishioka has no doubt achieved success in the sport.
His dedication to the sport of judo, combined with his knowledge of Japanese culture, has most likely allowed him to rise to the top of the sport.
He likely has a wealth of experience in the field that he can pass on to his students. Nishioka is an impressive individual, and his combination of skills and knowledge makes him a valuable asset to both the physical education field and the judo world.
He is a living example of how dedication and hard work can help one to achieve success.
The United States of America is home to some of the best judo players in the world. These athletes have earned numerous medals and accolades, proving their excellence in the sport.
They are an inspiration to those who want to get into the sport, and they have set a high standard for future generations of judokas. With their hard work and dedication, these judoka have given the United States of America a name to be proud of in the world of judo.
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