USA Judo Coaches and Olympic Medalists Meet to Plan for Beijing

June 29, 2006, 12 a.m. (ET)

With 770 days remaining until the start of the 2008 Olympic Games, USA Judo assembled a team of some of the most successful Olympic athletes and coaches in United States history to create a plan to best prepare our athletes for success in 2008 and beyond.

The team of 13 USA Judo coaches, athletes and administrators met June 29 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and included: 

  • Mike Swain (San Jose, Calif.), 1987 World Champion, four-time Olympian and 1988 Olympic bronze medalist
  • Jimmy Pedro (Methuen, Mass.), 1989 World Champion, four-time Olympian and two-time Olympic bronze medalist
  • Israel Hernandez (Harlingen, Texas), 1992 and 1996 Olympic bronze medalist (CUB) and Harlingen USA Judo National Training Site Coach
  • Jason Morris (Scotia, N.Y.), 1992 Olympic silver medalist, four-time Olympian and 2005 World Team Coach
  • Ed Liddie (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1984 Olympic bronze medalist and USA Judo Director of Athlete Performance
  • Pat Burris (Moore, Okla.), two-time Olympian and USA Judo Chair of Coaching Education
  • Grace Jividen (Littleton, Colo.), 1992 Olympian and Athletes' Advisory Council Alternate Representative
  • Brett Barron (Burlingame, Calif.), 1984 Olympian and 2004 Olympic Team Coach
  • Jim Hrbek (San Antonio, Texas), 1992 Olympic Coach
  • Jhonny Prado (Coral Springs, Fla.), North Miami USA Judo National Training Site Coach
  • Reno Reser (Colorado Springs, Colo.), six-time National Championship medalist and Athlete Representative
  • Lance Nading (Denver, Colo.), USA Judo Board Director and three-time Nationals medalist
  • Jose H. Rodriguez (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Judo CEO

"This is the first time ever that USA Judo has brought together all of these great minds in one room and this will be an excellent opportunity to exchange viewpoints and come up with a plan that is best for our athletes," Rodriguez said.  "Very few countries have taken the time to bring past successful athletes back in to create future plans and I'm looking forward to this being a key component to our future success on the mat in upcoming years."

Among the topics discussed, the team made laid out proposed plans for athlete development and major events through 2008 and into the next quadrennium.

"The meeting went exceptionally well.  All of the coaches are on the same page and we all have the same mindset regarding the approach we need to take in terms of training our athletes," Pedro said after the meeting.  "We all have a very positive outlook and a solid plan that we all bought into.  We're definitely putting out best foot forward and laying the groundwork for medals in 2008 as well as creating a very competitive team for 2012."

The meeting was spearheaded by Liddie as part of USA Judo's efforts to create programs that optimize athlete performance in the upcoming years.

"Eddie's done a nice job of bringing us all into the fold and getting a variety of opinions together to create a good plan," Morris said.  "I'm excited to be included and am looking forward to 2008."

Jay Warwick (Colorado Springs, Colo.), U.S. Olympic Committee Director of Sports Partnerships, also was involved in the meeting and discussed various aspects of the high performance plan with the group.

"I am proud of the effort our nation's top coaches have made to come together as a group to chart the course of our best athletes in their quest for success in Beijing," said Nading. "I think we've put together some great ideas that will work well for our athletes and we're looking forward to working with the USOC on some of these key endeavors."

 Check out in the coming weeks for more updates on USA Judo's plans for 2008 and beyond!