Four American Judokas Qualify for Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 07/15/2021, 12:51 PM EDT
Duesseldorf, Germany, February 21 – Angelica Delgado (USA), Gili Cohen (ISR) – Grand Slam Duesseldorf 2020 (Photo © by Klaus Mueller. All rights reserved. Including image always credited to Klaus Mueller)


Combat sports are the most exhilarating events at the Olympics. A sport that’s been around for ages and has special significance in Japan is judo. For the Tokyo Olympics 2020, USA Judo has confirmed four judokas who will travel to compete in the iconic Nippon Budokan arena.

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Who will represent the United States in judo at the Tokyo Olympics 2020?

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The first Olympian representing the USA in Tokyo is Colton Brown. The 29-year-old is a former Pan American Judo silver medalist, and he’s won silver at the International Judo Federation Grand Prix. He will make his second appearance at the Olympics in Tokyo.

Colton qualified for the Rio Olympics 2016 as well but came up short against Alexandre Iddr. Speaking to the Fight Library, Colton talked about his mission for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. “My goal is to win gold. I’m waking up everyday and doing everything in my power to train as hard as I possibly can across all areas.”

“My goal is to leave no stone unturned. I’m making sure that I have no weaknesses going into Tokyo. I’m taking things like my recovery and nutrition a lot more serious this time. I have learned that the small things really add up and make a huge difference.”

Another participant who came up short at the Rio Olympics in 2016 was Angelica Delgado. She also had Pan American medals and IJF Grand Prix wins to her name, but no Olympic medal.

Who is making their Olympics debut?

With Brown and Delgado gunning for gold in their second Olympics, we have to debutantes representing the US. First up is Nefeli Papadakis, the 2020 Pan American Judo bronze medalist. With a convincing performance like that, Papadakis is one favorite to clinch gold in the women’s 78 kg event.

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The last member of the team is entering the history books as the oldest American Olympic judoka. At 36, Nina Cutro-Kelly will take part in the women’s +78 kg division. She won the silver medal in the Pan American Championships 2021 in Guadalajara and has won a bronze medal in the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.

Torches are pictured during the torch kiss event, after the relay on public road was cancelled due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, during Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay celebration in Sammu, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Will this team put up a fight in the legendary Nippon Budokan arena or will they falter and fall to the mighty Japanese and French teams? US judokas have never returned home draped in gold, but do these athletes have what it takes to repeat the feats of Ronda Rousey and Kayla Harrison?

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DIVE DEEPER

Nina Cutro-Kelly Set to Become the Oldest American Judoka to Compete in the Tokyo Olympics 2020

8 days ago

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Nathan Fulgado

1174 articles

Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.

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