Olympic Judo 2012: Marti Malloy Matches Ronda Rousey's Medal Feat

Beau Dure@duresportFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2012

Jul 30, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Marti Malloy (USA), in blue, takes down Giulia Quintavalle (ITA) in the women's 57 kg judo bronze medal contest during the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL - South Arena 3. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kryger-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kryger-USA TODAY

Long before she hit it big in MMA and posed nude for ESPN magazine, Ronda Rousey was a brash young judo phenom with a penchant for armbars. Four years ago, she ran up a string of impressive wins and quotes on her way to the first Olympic medal for an American in women's judo.

Marti Malloy may never strike fear and obsession in the hearts of the MMA community the way Rousey has. But she can match Rousey in one respect—as of Monday, she is an Olympic judo medalist.

Malloy had a tough matchup in the first round—Portugal's Telma Monteiro, who was second in the qualification rankings and had beaten Malloy three times in recent bouts. She hung with Monteiro in regulation and then got a yuko, the smallest score awarded, to win in the "golden score" overtime session.

From there, Malloy was on a roll. We can only hope the folks with video rights give up repeated showings of Malloy's emphatic throw of Colombia's Yadinys Amaris, which earned the American an ippon, or "instant win," just 40 seconds into the contest. She then struggled but survived against Russia's Irina Zabludina to reach the semifinals.

But judo's tournament format has a little quirk. Semifinal losers drop down to meet the winners of a repechage round to try to earn their bronze medals. So after losing to Romanian star Corina Caprioriu with seven seconds left in their semifinal, Malloy had to face defending champion Giulia Quintavalle of Italy.

Quintavalle seemed to have the upper hand early, sometimes literally. Then halfway through the five-minute regulation period, the end came in a blink. Malloy swept her foot behind Quintavalle's leg and deposited the Olympic champion on her backside. She looked over at the ref for confirmation and got it—another ippon, and a rare medal for the USA.

Then came the tears. And a little later, the medal ceremony.

Malloy isn't alone is her success. Roommate Ariel Hsing didn't medal, but she fared well in another event that isn't usually kind to Americans.

My roommate Ariel Hsing of @usatabletennis just won round 2 @ the Olympics 2 get in2 the top 32!!Good luck 2night girl! Your on fire! #proud

— Marti Malloy (@Martidamus) July 29, 2012

So what's next for the 26-year-old San Jose State grad? There's no indication that she'll follow Rousey into MMA, though she has trained with former UFC champion BJ Penn.

And Rousey's a fan:

“@adamistrippin: @RondaRousey did you help train marti Molloy?She's incredible.” we fought all the time when we were kids she's real legit

— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) July 30, 2012

With two medals in two Games and former world champion Kayla Harrison still to come, Malloy will look to continue to take the U.S. women's judo program to new heights.


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