Kayla Harrison

Kayla Harrison is a very, very bad woman


RIO de JANEIRO — Kayla Harrison is a very, very bad woman.

Bow in her direction. All her opponents do.

Kayla Harrison in the moment of triumph // Getty Images

In one of the most thunderously badass performances in Olympic judo history, Harrison on Thursday plundered the women’s 78-kilogram (172 pound) category to win a second straight Olympic gold.

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Judo Princess, world champion

When she was just 12, Kayla Harrison gave herself a nickname: Judo Princess. It's still part of her email address. The princess fights tough. Now she's world champion.

At judo's world championships earlier this month in Tokyo, Kayla Harrison, now 20 years old, beat 19-year-old Mayra Aguiar of Brazil in sudden-death overtime to win the 78-kilogram (172-pound) division.

Her victory shines a spotlight on a sport that may be poised to be one of the American success stories come London and 2012. At the same time, it also shows just how long and uncertain the road to an Olympic medal can be for athletes in sports such as judo, where you sure don't do it for money but you indisputably need some amount of money to even have a shot at making it.

Click here to read the rest at TeamUSA.org.