LONDON, England, United Kingdom — Marti Malloy made history on Monday by becoming just the second American woman to ever medal in Judo at the Olympic Games. She did so by going on an admirable run through the incredibly talented and deep field of judoka in the Women's 57 kg (125.5 lbs) division.
The only other woman to win an Olympic medal in Judo is current Strikeforce bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Rousey also won a bronze medal in Judo at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Rousey and her mother, world champion judoka Ann Maria Rousey DeMars, are big supporters of Malloy.
Malloy, a 26-year-old Oak Harbor, Washington native, came entered her first Olympic Games as a Top 10 tanked judoka at 57 kg, after enjoying a successful 2011-2012 international season. Malloy is a graduate of San Jose State University and has won consecutive silver medals at the Pan American Games (2010 and 2011).
While attending college, Malloy was a member of the legendary San Jose State University judo program. This is where she trained under former U.S. Olympic judo coach Yosh Uchida. Malloy graduated on the Dean's List with a degree in advertising, which she attributes to Uchida's push for athletic and academic excellence.
Still a huge supporter of her Alma mater, Malloy continues to train with members of the SJSU Spartans team as she prepared for the London Games. She has also on occasion graced the mats of OTM co-founder Alan "Gumby" Marques' jiu-jitsu academy Heroes Martial Arts in San Jose, California. This undoubtedly was done so to help compliment her already world-class newaza (ground game).
Malloy started her amazing run to the Bronze Medal in the Round of 32 against three-time World silver medalist and reigning European champion Telma Monteiro of Portugal. She upset Monteiro, one of the division's biggest favorites by Yuko after executing a Sumi Gaeshi throw. Malloy followed up that win in the Round of 16 by defeating 2012 Pan American Games silver medalist Yadinys Amaris of Colombia. She won the match in 40 seconds by throwing Amaris with a Seoi Nage for Ippon.
In the Quarter-Final, Malloy won a very close match with Irina Zabludina of Russia. Both judoka had scored a Yuko, but Malloy got the nod by accumulating less penalties. This narrow win was enough to see her through to the Semi-Final of Pool B. This is where she would face her toughest test of the day in Corina Căprioriu of Romania. Căprioriu, who won the bronze medal at the World Judo Championships last summer, defeated Malloy with a perfectly timed Ura Nage for Ippon.
Malloy's loss in the Semi-Final saw her head to the first of two bronze medal matches. It was there that she faced the division's reigning 2008 Olympic gold medalist, Giulia Quintavalle of Italy. Malloy showed nerves of steel against the defending Olympic champion and ended the match with a big statement. She used a small inner reap called a Kouchi Gari to win the match by Ippon.
The win gave Malloy the bronze medal and a place in history, as one of the most successful American judoka. The other bronze medalist was Automne Pavia of France, while division favorite and former world champion Kaori Matsumoto of Japan won the gold medal. She did so by defeating Căprioriu, who took home the silver medal. You can keep up-to-date on Marti Malloy and her Judo career by liking her Facebook page www.facebook.com/MartiMalloyJUDO or following her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Martidamus.