U.S. Team Hunting For Gold in London at Paralympics

By Ernest Pund | Aug. 16, 2012, 2:54 a.m. (ET)

The U.S. Paralympic Judo Team has its best shot at a gold medal since the team's head coach, Scott Moore, took gold at the Games in 2000.

The squad has several players who could climb the podium in London. Myles Porter, 100 kg, is a U.S. favorite to take the top spot. Porter took bronze at the 2012 World Cup Miami in the able-bodied division and bronze in the 2012 U.S. Open, also in the able bodied division. Porter took gold at both the 2011 German Open for the Visually Impaired and the 2011 Parapan American Games.

The entire team, including Dartanyon Crockett, 90 kg, Ron Hawthorne, 60 kg, Katie Davis, +70kg, and Christella Garcia, 70kg, were members of the U.S. Parapan American Team. Hawthorne, Davis and Garcia were members of U.S. Paralympic World Teams. Davis took a bronze at the 2011 World Championships and a silver at the 2011 Parapan American Games. Garcia also took bronze at the 2011 Parapan American Games.

Judo is a sport that requires very few adaptations for athletes with visual impairments. Some of the toughest judo fighters in the United States, with or without visual impairments, are members of the U.S. Paralympic Judo Team, scheduled to represent their country at the Paralympic Games beginning Aug. 29 in London.

Worth noting: some elite judo fighters practice with blindfolds to heighten and improve their sense of balance and momentum on the mats.