Rusty Kanokogi to Receive Prestigious Award From the Japanese Government on Monday

Nov. 21, 2008, 5:11 p.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - One of the pioneer's of the women's judo movement, Rusty Kanokogi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will be honored on Nov. 24 with the prestigious "Emperor's Award of the Rising Sun" at the office of the Japanese Consulate General in New York City.

As Kanokogi is unable to travel to Japan, she will be honored during a ceremony where she will be recognized by the Japanese government as well as tennis champion and Women's Sports Foundation founder Billie Jean King who will introduce Kanokogi.

This award, the highest honor bestowed to a foreigner by the Japanese government, is given to an individual whose work has had an extraordinarily positive impact on Japanese society. Kanokogi is one of 75 people to receive the award this year, along with Americans Tommy Lasorda and Walter Mondale.

One of the highest ranked women in the sport, Kanokogi holds a seventh-degree black belt and is widely credited with helping bring women's judo into the Olympic Games for the first time in 1988 - the same year she also was a coach of the U.S. Olympic Team. 

Kanokogi has received countless honors during her career, including an induction into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1994; the John Osako Award from the USA Judo Referee Commission in 2007; and the International Judo Federation Bronze Medal Award in 2001.

A former member of the Women's Sports Foundation Board of Trustees, Kanokogi also was an NBC commentator for judo at the 2004 Olympic Games.