Kayla Harrison (center), Olympic champion, judo 78-kilograms, rings the opening bell at NASDAQ on Friday, August 17. Her coach and U.S. Olympic coach Jimmy Pedro is on the left. Photo courtesy of NASDAQ.
Boston, Mass: Kayla Harrison (78-kilograms) of Marblehead, Mass. made history on Aug. 2 when she defeated Gemma Gibbons of Great Britain two yukos to zero to capture the first-ever Olympic gold medal in judo for the United States.
After her gold-medal performance, Harrison was interviewed non-stop in London on all the major networks highlighted by appearances on the Today show, CNN, MSNBC, Inside Edition and much more. It didn't stop there, she has been on the go ever since returning to the Boston-area. The homecoming tour started just minutes after her flight touched down as three Boston-area TV affiliates met Kayla at Logan airport upon her arrival from London.
On Aug.14, Harrison made the rounds on Boston TV stations, and after three solid days of interviews in Boston she made a trip to New York City to ring the NASDAQ opening bell on behalf of USA Judo, the national governing body for the sport in the United States.
Prior to the NASDAQ engagement, Kayla conducted two interviews with CNN. Her day culminated with a series of interviews inside the Sirius radio building on Sixth Avenue. For her NASDAQ efforts, Harrison was presented with an engraved crystal ball.
There was a welcome home party for Kayla in Boston on Sunday, Aug. 19 at the Empire Lounge and the post-Olympic tour continues from there. On August 20 Harrison will attend the Patriots vs. Eagles game (she received a personal invitation from team owner Bob Kraft). Harrison will then fly back to New York on Aug. 23 for additional media interviews and an Olympic celebration at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Conn. on behalf of the U.S. Athletic Trust. After the interviews and museum visit, Kayla will fly to Orlando to mingle with guests of Maximized Living, one of her sponsors.
Additional appearances are scheduled for Kayla with The Boston Red Sox who will recognize Harrison and other New England-area Olympians on Aug. 25. She will fly to China in late Sept. for another one of her sponsors, CoolCore.
Kayla's hometown of Middletown, Ohio is arranging an array of festivities for the star on Aug. 28. Middletown has already declared Aug. 2 as "Kayla Harrison Day."
ATLAS SHRUGGED CONNECTION:
Harrison, who is an inveterate reader and Ayn Rand fan, counts "Atlas Shrugged" as a major motivator to help her win the 2010 world title. Because of her admiration of Rand, she has been invited to the premiere of "Atlas Shrugged Part II," which takes place in Washington, DC on Oct. 2. Kayla read the famous speech at the tail-end of the book the night prior to winning her 2010 world title; she also read excerpts from the book at the 2012 Olympic Games.
There will be another Massachusetts homecoming, this time in Marblehead where Kayla currently resides. This celebration will take place on Sept. 23.
Harrison trains out of Pedro's Judo Center in Wakefield, Mass., which is run by four-time Olympian, two-time bronze medalist and U.S. Olympic Coach Jimmy Pedro and his father, Jim Sr.