I have been sitting here in London trying to find a way to begin this message to you, USA Judo members and all of a sudden I realize that what I simply needed were the 3 words that I used and heard the last few days here at these Olympic Games!
Congratulations, because each and every one of you who are members of USA Judo deserve the credit for the success our athletes and coaches had in these Olympic Games. Every time that the hand of an international judo leader extended to congratulate USA Judo, I accepted on behalf of each and every one of you; from the coaches of the smallest member club, to the coaches of the larger clubs. I accepted the congratulations thinking of the leadership and dedication of our Junior Development Director, Jim Hrbek; our Coach Certification Director, Pat Burris; our referees, our volunteers, our Olympic and National Training Site coaching staff, our medical staff, our athletes parents, our athletes and so many others out there who supported and believed in USA Judo.
And, thank you for your continuing support; for believing in us when we said that we will win the first gold medal this Olympic Games. Thank you for showing up to our events to volunteer, to compete, or to watch. Thank you for buying our USA Judo merchandise and donating funds to help us support our athletes. Thank you to the United States Olympic Committee, the sponsors of USA Judo and our athletes individually; the likes of NYAC and so many others who for years have supported our athletes.
I remember during the last Games I wrote a letter to the membership, and in it I reinforced what I have said when I started this job: American coaches can coach and American athletes can win! Well, here we are four years later and American coaches are coaching American athletes to the Olympic Medal podium. All that we needed was a plan; all we needed was financial support; all we needed was to work together as one Judo family for the betterment of the sport and the athletes; all we needed was to stay true to the plan and not lose faith and sight of our horizon no matter the distractions that may come our way.
Personally, I want to thank each and every member of our Board of Directors. I congratulate you and pass on to you the many hand shakes that I received from so many around the world, but most importantly of all, I thank you because you allow me the latitude to work the plan; to bring in one and all to work under one sport and one national flag. Thank you for allowing me to serve this organization, this sport and the athletes.
I congratulate and thank Jimmy Pedro and his Olympic staff for doing what they said they were going to do: achieve what we had yet to achieve. You are the best and I am sure you have now inspired other coaches to follow in your success.
To our medalist Kayla and Marti, congratulations and thank you; you are what our nation is all about, what sport is all about! Each of your families deserve a gold medal as well; and to Travis Stevens, a medal would have been nice, but you don't need a medal to be a champion because you are a champion in my eyes and everyone's eyes. To our Team as a whole, thank you on behalf of our Board of Directors and our members!
In closing, my personal recognition to our National Office staff, and most importantly Eddie Liddie, Director of High Performance, who identified, wrote and developed the plan that brought us here. Thank you and Congratulations for a job well done.
Now, we look forward to greater achievements in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and beyond!