Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ronda Rousey - America's Hope for Olympic Gold

Silver Medalist at this years Worlds, typically a reliable Olympic predictor;

Taken from the USJA site (www.usajudo.org):

Ronda Rousey Named USA Judo Athlete of the Month

In a new feature, USA Judo will recognize an outstanding junior or senior athlete for his or her accomplishments during the previous month. World silver medalist and Pan American Games Champion Ronda Rousey was honored this month for going undefeated to win two B-Level golds…

Twenty-year-old Ronda Rousey (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE / NYAC / 70kg) has had a year athletes of any age would dream of.

By October, Rousey had six major international medals and had become the first female U.S. athlete to win a World Championship medal in 12 years when she defeated the previous World Champion and Olympic medalists to win a silver medal.

Now the #4-ranked player in the world, Rousey wasn’t one to rest on her laurels and less than a month after her Worlds win, she embarked on her quest to continue her undefeated streak at the U.S. Open and Rendez-Vous Canada Championships where she won gold medals in both tournaments in the 63kg division in both 2005 and 2006.

Although the two events were held during back-to-back weekends, Rousey dominated both tournaments, winning every match by ippon (instant win) and defeated three-time Pan Am medalist Catherine Roberge (CAN) twice at the Rendez-Vous.

Considered one of the sport’s prodigies when she qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team as a 17-year-old in 2004, Rousey continued to develop as a player and reached new heights during the past year.

“For a while there, I was training on my own and jumping from place to place,” Rousey said. “But a lot of people have really been great in helping me, including USA Judo, my coach Jimmy Pedro and my teammates because all of that’s what motivates you to get out of bed and run and train every day.”

As one of the top-ranked players in the world, Rousey will be an athlete to watch as she aims for her goal of becoming the first U.S. player to win Olympic gold.

“Ronda is one of the best athletes we’ve seen in the United States in a long time and seeing her win consistently throughout this year has been inspiring both to the entire team as well as to younger players coming through the ranks who hope to reach those heights someday,” said Eddie Liddie, USA Judo Director of Athlete Performance. “It’s been a privilege to work with her and we’re all looking forward to watching Ronda grow and improve on her road to Beijing.”

Wish her luck and visit her blog- the title is a direct link

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