19 Years Ago, “Missing American Flag” Fueled Ronda Rousey to Become a World Champion

Published 01/04/2023, 2:20 PM EST

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Ronda Rousey has shattered many glass ceilings. She became the first American to win an Olympic medal in Judo. She opened the door to UFC for women. All these achievements didn’t come easy, though. Ronda Rousey failed to win a medal at the Olympics in 2004. She lost it by a very close margin and she was very disappointed. She got a chance to redeem herself at the Junior World Championships, and she didn’t let the chance go. ‘Rowdy’, however, had to deal with unexpected situations. Rousey recounted how a missing American flag made her storm through her opposition during the 2004 world championships.

Ronda Rousey felt disappointed when she learned that the American coaches and managers were not carrying American flags and copies of their anthem. The organizers needed them in case an American athlete won. American coaches didn’t expect any Americans to win at the 2004 Junior World Championships.

Ronda Rousey was angry with the management and her coaches


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In her memoir, My Fight/Your Fight, Ronda Rousey recounted how the half-hearted approach from the coaches infuriated her during the championships. She remembered how she got no assistance from her coaches. She also remembered how the coaches had no belief in the athletes and didn’t care to carry the American National Flag and copies of the National Anthem that are needed for medal ceremonies.

via Getty

Rousey wrote, “I walked away in total disgust. Across the mat, I saw my opponent’s coach giving her instructions. I saw the coach go in toward her as if to demonstrate what I might do. He looked at her and tapped his left hand, indicating that I was a left-handed fighter. She nodded. All of the anger that I had been carrying with me rose to the surface.”


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‘Rowdy’ further added “The Olympics. The missing American flag. The half-as* coaching. I had had enough, and this girl was going to pay.”

Rousey further added, “The Russian girl didn’t stand a chance” Rousey went on to embarrass her Russian opponents on points and demolished her Chinese opponent in the finals. She wrote, “I slammed the girl from China to win the final“.


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Rousey didn’t celebrate her win with her coach

Rousey also recounted how she was very upset with her coaches even after her win. She said after the win over the Russian opponent; the coaches tried to hug her, but she kept her arms at her side. Rousey had earlier asked for information about her opponents being left-handed or right-handed from her coaches, but they failed to help.


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This inefficiency angered Ronda Rousey, but she channelized the energy to win the Junior World Championships. Have you ever channelized your anger to achieve something difficult? Let us know.

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Written by:

Akshay Pallav


One take at a time

Akshay Pallav is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his undergraduation from National Institute of Fashion Technology in Apparel Production, he has been a sports enthusiast all his life and has several medals at the University level across multiple sports including basketball, badminton, track and field. He aspires to interview Conor McGregor and Cristiano Ronaldo someday.
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