Olympians, Coaches and Referees Support Judo Through the Circle of 100... You are invited to Join them today!

April 23, 2009, 12:27 a.m. (ET)

USA Judo launched its new Circle of 100 program over the weekend at the USA Judo Senior, Visually Impaired, Kata and Masters National Championships in San Diego.

The Circle of 100 is a premier group of donors formed to support the growth of judo at all levels - from grassroots through Olympic - in the United States.

"This is a program for those who have been waiting the opportunity to show their support of USA Judo and our athletes," said USA Judo President Lance Nading (Denver, Colo.) "The time has come to reach out to everyone who feels as we all do that, first and foremost, we are all members of Team USA Judo and joining the Circle of 100 will make that statement heard loud and clear."

Nearly 20 supporters of judo, including Olympians, coaches and referees, pledged to contribute $1,000 each to help provide the following for judo players in the United States: 

  • National and international competition opportunities for junior and elite athletes
  • Developing world-class training, nutritional and performance services for our athletes
  • Training opportunities abroad for our Olympic hopefuls
  • Grassroots development of tomorrow's judo champions
  • Continuing education for our coaches and referees  

Among these donors were the following new members of the Circle of 100: 

  • Lance Nading (Denver, Colo.), USA Judo President
  • Dr. Ron Tripp (Norman, Okla.), USA Judo General Secretary and Past President
  • Mike Swain (San Jose, Calif.), 1987 World Champion and 1988 Olympic medalist
  • Celita Schutz (New York City, N.Y.), three-time Olympian
  • Joe Marchal (Fort Worth, Texas), 1988 Olympian
  • Amy Ehlenfeldt (Norman, Okla.), four-time Senior National medalist
  • Bert Mackey (Edmonds, Wash.), 2009 Pan Am Team Coach
  • Noboru Saito (Clawson, Mich.), A-Level Referee
  • Joan Miller (Hillsboro, Ore.), Regional Referee
  • Jim Webb (Dallas, Texas), Regional Referee
  • Jeff LeForce (Dallas, Texas), National Referee
  • Gail Stolzenburg (Houston, Texas), USA Judo Board Member
  • Sgt. Major Mayfield (Jacksonville, N.C.), 2005 World Team Manager
  • D.M. Maisha Mayfield (Jacksonville, N.C.)
  • Manmohan Chima (Plano, Texas)
  • Andrew Connolly (Spring, Texas)  

"It is important to be able to show potential sponsors and others outside of the sport that we, as those who love and participate in the sport, do support its growth with our checkbook. Who will support the sport and the organization if not those like us?" said Noboru Saito (Clawson, Mich.), USA Judo Board member and 2004 Olympic referee. 

USA Judo will be launching a Circle of 100 Web page during the next week as well as announcing more details about the program. USA Judo supporters interested in joining the Circle of 100 are asked to contact Jose H. Rodriguez, USA Judo CEO, at 719.866.4730 or jose.h.rodriguez@usajudo.us. Check www.usjudo.org for new information to come soon.