Rio Olympics: Middletown’s Kayla Harrison golden again

Middletown’s Kayla Harrison is golden again.

Harrison, 26, became the first U.S. judoka to win back-to-back Olympic judo gold medals this afternoon at Carioca Arena 2 in Rio.

In the gold-medal match, Harrison, ranked No.1 in the world, beat second-ranked Audrey Tcheumeo of France by ippon in the 78kg weight class.

Harrison went 4-0 today in dominating fashion to top the same weight class she won at the 2012 London Olympics. She went into the stands after the win to celebrate with her family.

Harrison’s coach, Jimmy Pedro, told the Associated Press she was “on fire” and described her Olympic title defense as “epic.”

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Update: 3:07 p.m.

Middletown’s Kayla Harrison has a second straight gold medal in her sights.

Harrison, the reigning Olympic champion, beat Animari Velensek of Slovenia with an ippon in 1:43 in the semifinals of the 78kg weight class today in Rio.

Harrison, ranked No. 1 in the world, advances to the gold-medal bout at 3:40 p.m. today against second-ranked Audrey Tcheumeo of France.


Update: 11:25 a.m.

Middletown’s Kayla Harrison is two wins away from another Olympic gold medal.

Harrison, the reigning Olympic champ, beat Abigel Joo of Hungary in the quarterfinals this morning in the 78kg weight class.

Harrison, ranked No. 1 in the world, advances to a semifinal bout today at 2:58 p.m. to face Animari Velensek of Slovenia. The gold-medal bout is scheduled for 3:40 p.m.


Update: 10:20 a.m.

Kayla Harrison’s bid for a second straight Olympic judo gold medal is off to a strong start.

Harrison, a Middletown native, defeated Zhang Zhehul of China by ippon in 43 seconds in a first-round bout in the 78kg weight class. Harrison advances to the quarterfinals to Abigel Joo of Hungary. That bout is scheduled for 11:06 a.m.


Kayla Harrison’s attempt to become a two-time Olympic judo gold medalist begins Thursday morning in Rio.

The Middletown native will compete in the same 78kg weight class she won four years ago in London.

Beginning at 10:10 a.m., she will have to win four four-minute bouts to take home gold. Harrison, ranked No. 1 in the world, faces Zhang Zhehul of China in a Round of 16 bout. The quarterfinals follow at 11:06 a.m. The semifinals are scheduled for 2:58 p.m. and the gold-medal bout will take place at 3:40 p.m.

Bonus: Harrison is healthy this time around after beating all comers despite a dislocated knee to claim her first Olympic gold.

The 26-year-old headed to Rio as the reigning Pan American Judo champion and says this will be her last Olympics.

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