Rio 2016 venue: Carioca Arena 2 – Olympic Park (Barra Zone)
Competition dates: Aug. 6-12
Medal events: 14 (7 men’s and 7 women’s individual)
Olympic introduction: 1964 (Tokyo, Japan)

A team of six judokas will be representing the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. USA Judo has a strong prospect of winning a second consecutive Olympic gold medal, which would make Olympic history in the sport.

Reigning Olympic champion Kayla Harrison (78 kg.) is a favorite to take home gold, having maintained her No. 1 world ranking for the past 10 months. Meanwhile, three-time Olympian Travis Stevens (81 kg.), 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marti Malloy (57 kg.) and Nick Delpopolo (73 kg.) have all demonstrated their ability to compete at the Olympic level. Set to make their Olympic debuts are Angelica Delgado (52 kg.) and Colton Brown (90 kg.), who boast strong international experience heading into their first Games. 

The 2016 U.S. Olympic Judo team will be led by U.S. father-son coaching duo Jimmy Pedro, a four-time Olympian and two-time Olympic medalist, and his father, Jim Pedro. 

The goal of a judo match is to throw one’s opponent onto his or her back, finishing with an arm lock, stranglehold or immobilization on the floor. Various moves are assigned different point values. A contest can be won immediately if a competitor scores “ippon,” the maximum 10 points, by throwing the adversary largely on his or her back with strength and speed and holding him or her immobile on the floor for 25 seconds.

Otherwise, points are given for lesser moves – such as “wazari,” in which the opponent is taken down and held immobile for at least 15 seconds, but less than 20. Two wazari are equal to one ippon. The third technique is the “yuko,” which occurs when the rival falls on his or her side or is held down for at least 10 seconds, but less than 15. The judoka with the most points at the end of a five-minute match is the winner.

In this strategic combat sport, there are seven weight classes each for men and women, with the U.S. having qualified in six (three per gender).

Athletes To Watch
Angelica Delgado 
The 2015-16 season began with a bang for Delgado (52 kg.). Having won one silver and four bronze medals in international competitions during the past year, she qualified for the Rio Olympics. South America will prove to be familiar territory for the world No. 25 ranked Delgado, who has won 14 international medals since 2013, including 11 on South American soil.

Kayla Harrison 
Harrison (78 kg.) stunned the world when she became the first American judoka – male or female – to win an Olympic gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. She is looking to capture the gold again in Rio, and has proven her No. 1 world ranking with her excellent record during the 2015-16 season. She has earned podium appearances in each of the nine tournaments in which she competed last season, earning five gold, two silver and two bronze medals. The Middleton, Ohio, native is favored to defend her Olympic title in Rio, and if successful, would become the first American judo athlete to accomplish the feat.

Marti Malloy
Representing Team USA in the 57 kg. division, Malloy is looking to add to her bronze medal from the London 2012 Olympic Games. She entered the London Olympics as an underdog and a bit of an unknown, but this time around, she is heading into the Rio Games as the world’s No. 4-ranked judoka in her division and a medal favorite. She has a reputation for performing at her best when the stakes are high.

Travis Stevens  
Stevens (81 kg.) is looking to improve his performance after placing fifth at the London Olympics in 2012. Despite being hindered by a knee injury for most of the 2015 season, he stayed strong and competed in several international competitions, including a victory at the 2016 World Masters in Guadalajara, Mexico. In the months leading up to Rio, he improved his world ranking from No. 22 to No. 5.


  • Kayla Harrison became the first American – male or female – to win an Olympic gold medal in judo at the London 2012 Games. She will look to make history once again in Rio, where she could become the first American judoka to win back-to-back Olympic titles. Post-London, she became an enduring symbol of hope and inspiration, working on a book that she hopes will be used by schools to teach youth about how to handle abuse, and most recently, launching her own clothing line, Fuji by Kayla. On the mat, she has also had a busy four years since London Kayla had a busy four years, competing internationally and facing her Brazilian rival, Myra Aguiar, in 17 matches, Kayla winning nine.
  • Kayla Harrison’s fiercest, and perhaps most respected, rival is Brazilian Mayra Aguiar. A head-to-head meeting between the two in Rio is sure to ignite the local crowd. Over the last four years, Harrison and Aguiar have met 17 times, with Harrison proving victories on nine of those occasions. The two have traded wins at the 2014 World Championships (Aguiar), 2015 Pan American Games (Harrison), Paris Grand Slam (Aguiar), Pan American Championships (Harrison) and World Judo Masters (Harrison). Should the two meet again in the gold-medal match, it would be Harrison’s second straight Olympic gold-medal bout against an opponent from the host nation, having defeated Great Britain’s Gemma Gibbons, 2-0, in London.
  • Travis Stevens is looking ahead to the Rio 2016 Games where he hopes to have a shot at redemption after dropping a sudden-death semifinal match to the defending Olympic champion in London. The Rio Games will mark Steven’s third Olympic appearance, in which he hopes to claim his first Olympic medal after narrowly missing the podium and placing fifth in 2012.
  • Marti Malloy will be heading back to the Olympic mat for the opportunity to add to her 2012 Olympic bronze medal. She knows what it takes to succeed, both in and out of competition, having obtained her bachelor’s degree in advertising and master’s degree in mass communications with an emphasis on new media from San Jose State University.
  • The 2016 U.S. Olympic Judo Team will be led by U.S. father-son coaching duo in four-time Olympian and two-time Olympic medalist, Jimmy Pedro, and his father, Jim Pedro.