USA Judo's Director of High Performance Eddie Liddie (left)
with US Judo Paralympian Ron Hawthorne
March 27, 2013 – USA Judo is proud to announce that Eddie Liddie, the organization’s Director of High Performance, has been named a finalist for Paralympic Coach of the Year by the US Olympic Committee.
The great news was delivered to Liddie during USA Judo’s National Scholastic Championships held this weekend in Miami-Doral, FL. “Ed is an excellent selection,” said USA Judo CEO Jose H. Rodriguez. “He has taken us so far, as a talented coach and leader in the sport.”
“Eddie is a great coach in judo, and in life,” said 2012 Paralympic Silver Medalist Myles Porter. “He has taught me and my teammates lessons we will take with us forever.”
This was a banner year for the U.S. Judo Team at the Paralympic Games in London, where Team USA took a silver and a bronze medal. Three of the five members of the U.S. Paralympic Judo Team, including the two medal winners, train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, under Liddie, who is himself an Olympic Bronze Medalist.
Athlete Myles Porter, 100 kg., took the Paralympic Silver Medal and has set his sights on competing in the fully-sighted brackets of the world’s elite tournaments. He is both the No. 1 nationally ranked Paralympic athlete in the 100 kg division, AND he is the No. 1 ranked athlete in the United States in the fully-sighted division. This is a tremendous accomplishment, a testimony not only to Porter’s talent, passion and devotion to the sport but also to Liddie’s tireless coaching and leadership.
“He took me from being someone with a dream at a local club to an elite athlete living my dream, striving for more,” Porter said. “He makes me work to be a better player and a better person every day.”
Dartanyon Crockett took a bronze medal at the Paralympic Games in London. This was a huge achievement, and tremendous credit to Liddie, given that Crockett had been training in judo for less than three years. That Crockett was even on the mats is a credit to Liddie, who recruited Crockett after spotting his untrained talent. Liddie then led Crockett’s training from the ground-up to compete at the most prestigious Paralympic event in the world. To make that event, Crockett had to increase his weight and compete in the 90 kg division, up a weight class from his prior division (the U.S. had not qualified in the lower weight class).
Without Liddie’s guidance and coaching, it is extremely unlikely that this team would have won the two high-profile medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games, putting this sport for the visually impaired in the limelight. It seems impossible that Crockett would have been discovered had Eddie Liddie not spotted this classic ‘diamond in the rough’ when he did.
With the success of these athletes, a very strong message has been sent to other visually impaired athletes that they can participate successfully in this sport. Both athletes are expected to return to the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, further testimony to the success of their experience in 2012, promising even greater success for the team and sport in the future. The year 2012 was one of tremendous growth for the sport in this nation, in large part thanks to Liddie.
By Ernest Pund, USA Judo Communications