Oct. 25, 2017, 4:14 p.m. (ET)


On this World Judo Day we celebrate You - The Courageous!

You showed courage the day you decided to try something new and start judo and you continue to show courage in so many ways. It takes courage to: show up to compete; turn it around after a loss; try new techniques in randori; come back to judo after an injury; visit a new club; being the underdog in the open bracket; and even just stepping on the mat takes courage. The courage you show each and every day makes you a hero.

Team USA shares their stories on courage:


Two-time Olympian and Bronze Medalist (2012 & 2016)


Courage is a decision. It’s the choice to persevere despite disappointments, failures and the perception of not being 'good enough.' To me, it means looking all those negative thoughts, beliefs and obstacles right in the face and deciding to try anyway, even if it seems impossible or even scares you.

One of my most courageous moments was coming back from my devastating semi-final loss in the 2012 Olympics and turning it around and being able to come home with a bronze medal. Everything in my mind and body wanted to give up, cry and fall apart. I questioned whether I was capable of the task ahead of me in those moments. But I gathered up the courage to turn my disappointment around and set my mind on the goal at hand.




Two-time Olympian (2012 & 2016)


Courage, to me, at least from a sport aspect means doing your best and giving your all, day in and day out, without any guarantee or certainty that you will achieve your goals. I think the definition of courage means to do something that scares you and to do it anyway.

I think the most courageous things I have ever done is moving away from home before I was even a teenager to pursue my Olympic dreams. Many people don't know this but I have actually not lived at home since I was 12 years old. To be so young and to move away from the safety and security of my family and be around grown adults training full time presented so many challenges to me on a daily basis.




2016 Olympian


To me, courage is the ability to overcome a task or a goal despite the obstacles placed in front of you.

The most courageous thing I've ever done is completed my Bachelors Degree from San Jose State University while qualifying for the Olympics. Although it was hard and I had to endure numerous sleepless nights, I had faith that both of these tasks could be accomplished.





The best way to define courage for me is actually the words of my little sister who passed away last year unexpectedly. After she passed we found a journal where she wrote: "fight with everything you have, even if you might lose, even if you're supposed to lose, because if you refuse to fight you have lost already." For me this is the essence of courage - facing your fears even when the odds are against you.

I think one of the more courageous things I've ever done was fighting for an entire year without an ACL because if I got operated on immediately I stood no chance of making the 2012 Olympic Team but if I could wait it out and manage with physical therapy, I could still try. While I didn't make the team and spent a year with my knee taped from thigh to calf, I at least know I gave it my all.





Courage means having strength and belief in one's self to move forward while being faced with hardship. I believe that if you are courageous in your actions, positive energy will uplift you and allow you to surpass obstacles.

In all honesty I don't think I have done anything super courageous! However, I think several sacrifices I have made to pursue a dream of being Olympic champion has definitely taken a certain level of courage. This is something all aspiring athletes understand as sacrifice is necessary for future greatness.





Courage is far more than perseverance. Courage is getting over your fears. It’s what pushes you to go more than the extra mile to be the best not only for yourself but also for the others who believe in you. It’s the sweat of hard work, the hunger to win, the passion to fight...

The most courageous thing I’ve ever done was moving from the Philippines to the U.S. when I was 7 years old. Learning a new language was hard but getting used to the new culture was even more difficult, not to mention leaving behind friends, family and everything else that I was accustomed to. It was a tough transition and I had to be brave for myself and my brothers.





Courage for me means several things. First, it means being willing to push past your boundaries and venture outside of your comfort zone to discover the best possible self you can be. And second, it’s getting back up after a defeat and not letting it keep you down. You go home, work harder and go back to do the best that you can and eventually succeed.

The most courageous thing I have done is to put myself into situations where I would have to step out of my comfort zone in order to succeed. The biggest thing for me was moving to a new country, with a different culture and language and continuing school and judo. This put me in a situation I had never been in before and it was far outside of my comfort zone. I managed to adjust to my new life and be successful.





To me, courage is the ability to stand up for your beliefs no matter the opposition you may face. It’s doing what’s right when there’s a million reasons to do wrong.

Standing up to my high school track and field coach after he told me that blind people weren’t allowed on the team. I was tired of constantly having my abilities judged solely on my lack of vision, and I went back to his office every day for 2 weeks straight before he finally allowed me on the team. Because of that moment, I went on to win 3 world titles and break the US record in the discus.





To me, courage is doing something or standing up for what you believe to be right in the face of danger, fear, or adversity with no thought of yourself or personal gain, or while knowing that you may suffer negative personal consequences for having done so.

The most courageous thing that I can recall, is doing my best to administer first aid to my girlfriend as she suffered a seizure in her sleep and struggled to breathe through a bleeding mouth. It was very stressful and the entire time I had worry and fear that I wouldn’t be able to help her or that I was potentially making the situation worse, but I ultimately knew she needed help before the paramedic team would be able to arrive.





Courage is not being afraid of blazing my own trail. Developing my own style and not following the mainstream has enCOURAGEd me to face my fears and doubts and step into my destiny with boldness and confidence.

This year I had the courage to face my fears, my doubts, and my naysayers with great courage. Stepping on the tatami on the world stage for the first time has not only given me the experience that I needed, but also the confidence that I belong there. If I did not have the courage to step out of my comfort zone this year, then I would have never known what I was capable of.