Former World Champion Jimmy Pedro to Coach Team USA at the Senior World Championships in Rotterdam this Week
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - Ten years after becoming just the third American ever to win a World Championship title, Jimmy Pedro (Methuen, Mass.) will be back at the Worlds - this time as a coach of the 14-member U.S. Team that will compete in Rotterdam, Netherlands from Wednesday through Sunday.
"Having an experienced coach who has competed and won at this level lets the athletes know that it is possible to succeed at the world level in judo and hopefully gives them the confidence to do so themselves," Pedro said. "Plus, having gone through it first-hand myself for many years, I truly understand the athletes' needs to prepare for such an event, as well as the mental and emotional rollercoaster they will be on for the next few weeks. My key role is to deal with outside influences so they can stay focused on the job they have to do."
Pedro is currently the personal coach of five members of the Senior World Championship Team through his USA Judo National Team FORCE program in Wakefield, Mass. and has worked with many other team members in the past through his role as Head Coach of the USA Judo Elite U-23 Team.
"I am very excited to be coaching my first ever U.S. World Championship Team," Pedro said. "It is quite an honor, and I appreciate USA Judo for selecting me. Ironically enough, it is exactly 10 years since I competed in the 1999 Worlds in Birmingham, England."
Pedro, the only U.S. player ever to win two Olympic medals, is one of six USA Judo National Coaching Staff members who are past Olympians.
"We are very proud to have Jimmy as our World Team Coach. I know a lot of our members do not know how closely Jimmy works with our Athlete Performance Director Eddie Liddie to determine programs for our athletes," said USA Judo CEO Jose H. Rodriguez (Colorado Springs, Colo.) "When you look at the fact that we have so many Olympians working with USA Judo it is actually unmatched by any other National Governing Body. It is our policy to use those who have the experience and want to work to give back to our sport."
Pedro retired after winning bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games and says that he believes that the sport has changed greatly over the course of his 15-year athletic career.
"During my career, which spanned from 1989 - 2004 at the world level, the sport continually evolved and changed. It seemed as though the game became less technical and more physical as the years passed," Pedro commented. "Today's judo is a blend of many different grappling arts such as sambo, grappling, ju-jitsu, wrestling and, of course, stand up judo; however, one thing for sure is that the game is as physical as ever."
The team Pedro will be coaching includes a mixture of past Olympic and World Team members as well as first time members of Team USA.
"We have some legitimate medal shots going in who can compete at the world level and we also have many youngsters and first-timers on this team who are just now starting their four-year run at international experience to prepare for London 2012," Pedro said. "Ultimately, though, results at world and Olympic events have a lot to do with the type of day the athlete has, the draw and the calls they get the day of the competition. Hopefully those things will be on our side and we will come away with a few medals."
Competition begins for Team USA on Wednesday and will conclude on Sunday with the schedule is as follows:
Wednesday Aug. 26
Men's 60kg and 66kg
Thursday Aug. 27
Women's 52kg and 57kg
Friday Aug. 28
Saturday Aug. 29
Women's 70kg and 78kg
Sunday Aug. 30
Men's 100kg and +100kg
"I join the voices of our Board of Directors and our membership to wish our athletes as well as Jimmy Pedro the best of success at the World Championships," said USA Judo President Lance Nading (Denver, Colo.) "Judo today is not the same Judo of the yesteryears and that is why we are proud to have bright young coaches like Jimmy working with USA Judo to help our athletes achieve the success they deserve and we all want."