Olympics 2012: Kayla Harrison becomes first US athlete to win judo gold

Aug 2, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Kayla Harrison (USA) celebrates with her gold medal after winning the women's 78kg final in the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCel-North Arena 2. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Could we be looking at the next Ronda Rousey?

Team USA judoka Kayla Harrison defeated Britain's Gemma Gibbons 2-0 to win the gold medal in the women's under 78-kilogram division at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.

The drought is over.

Rousey, who transitioned to mixed martial arts (MMA) and quickly rose to power as the Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champion, took home a bronze medal in judo when she competed in Beijing back in 2008. Prior to Harrison's victory last night (Aug. 2, 2012), no American athlete had ever claimed the gold.

From the Boston Globe:

"It feels like a dream. I hope [my gold medal] changes America's perspective on judo. I hope to be able to use it to benefit everyone in my sport. I love my sport. It's the best sport in the world. Hopefully, this will help create that splash of new judo interest."

At the age of just 13, Harrison was forced to endure a horrific incident of long-term sexual abuse involving her coach, who plead guilty to the crime and was locked up back in 2007. She recently went public with her story last year and has since campaigned to help other victims out their predators in the sports world.

Dark past, bright future.

For more on combat sports in the 2012 Summer Olympics click here and here.

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