(Beijing, China) - Twelve years after his Olympic debut as a judo player for Haiti, Adler Volmar (Coral Springs, Fla.) did not have a chance to fulfill his dream of winning a gold medal for Team USA as he lost in the first round in the 100kg division on Thursday.
Volmar was thrown for a waza-ari (half-point) three minutes into his match against Amel Mekic (BIH) who then held Volmar down in a pin for 20 seconds to win the match.
"I'm still in shock. I thought it was my score and raised my arm, but he already had me on the ground," Volmar said after the match. "Your brain becomes like a replay. You think of the moment, the pain, the hard work, all the people who've helped you."
Volmar came back from undergoing knee surgery in February and qualified for his second Olympic Team in just his second tournament after the injury - the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in June. Although Volmar says his surgeon gave him only a 1% chance of recovery in time for the Trials, Volmar defeated the odds to make the Olympic Team.
"I don't think I was doing this for myself. I was doing this for something beyond me, to serve as an inspiration to other people so they can know that if they go through something hard in life they can overcome it," Volmar said.
Mekic lost his next match to Askhat Zhitkeyev (KAZ) which eliminated Volmar from the tournament.
"It's judo. You lose, you win, but you have a lot of people behind you, supporting your effort," said Volmar who hopes his positive attitude in spite of his loss can help inspire others. "There's always a positive and a negative and you choose whether you can make someone's life lighter or darker and I always choose the positive."
Volmar may have lost on Thursday, but will forever be an Olympian who says he had the support of two countries behind him.