(Beijing, China) - In his first trip to the Olympic Games, Daniel McCormick (Wakefield, Mass. / Arlington, Texas) had one of the top finishes for the U.S. men when he ended the judo competition with a ninth place finish in the +100kg division on Friday.
After a first-round bye, McCormick defeated Deguy Bathily Diegy (SEN) by two penalties to one.
In the next round, the 22-year-old fought two-time World medalist Lasha Gujejiani (GEO), but the more experienced Gujejiani attacked instantly and threw McCormick for an ippon (instant win) on the first exchange.
"I hate losing. It's hard for me not to win. I'm a competitive person. I come from a competitive family," McCormick said. "He's a great player. I wish the match would have lasted longer."
In the repechage, McCormick found himself facing his friend Ricardo Blas (GUA) whom he trained with in Japan earlier this year.
"It's tough fighting a friend, but I don't even think we've ever fought at the same tournament, let alone fought each other," McCormick said.
Although both McCormick and Blas were given two stalling penalties each, McCormick won the match on a penalty given when Blas stepped out of bounds.
"It wasn't a pretty way to win, but I'm happy with it," McCormick said.
In the next round, McCormick fought former Asian Chammpion Mohammad Reza Rodaki (IRI). Again, he led early off a penalty awarded to Rodaki, but the Iranian soon footswept McCormick for a koka (smallest points) score.
"It was a good footsweep. I never even saw it coming," McCormick said.
With the score tied, McCormick made an unsuccessful attack that ended in him being pinned for ippon.
"I fought a good match," he said. "I made an attack, a good attack, but I lost control and he pinned me."
McCormick says that his top-ten finish is just the beginning of a career that he hopes to take him to the podium in London four years from now.
"I'll accept it, but the next time I'll expect more, much much more," he said.