Kayla Harrison Clarifies Her Remarks On USA Judo

Photo credit: Flickr / Creative Commons: Agência Brasil Fotografias

Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison took to Facebook earlier to clarify her remarks on USA Judo.

Here is what she had to say:

I want to take a moment and bring some clarity. I have some regret in my
Emotional moment and wish to clarify.

What I failed to mention in my emotional moment was that I also powered through a corrupt organization and leader for many years. I regret not saying that Saturday night. I also regret taking away the spotlight from our para Olympians and for hurting anyone currently competings feelings. My speech was meant to make judo Better for our next Olympic champion. And to say goodbye to a sport that I have loved for a very long time.
A lot went into deciding to speak out. I didn’t want to and up until the last minute I wasn’t going to. I just felt as if I could no longer silently say thank you and just walk away. I wanted the judo community to know I am hurt and that our future will be hurt if changes are not made. I understand the new board and the new leadership is going to work hard to make changes. I hope that they succeed. I want nothing but the best for judo. I always have and have always fought my hardest and advocated my hardest to make that possible. But as I said- it gets to a point where I can’t sit back and watch what I believe to be big mistakes be made.
This is what my heart says and what I felt I had to do. I wish I had had the insight to not ruin people who I admired evenings.
And as for being asked to leave the mat- it was a small moment in a long long list of experiences and I regret mentioning it. I am not above anyone nor do I think I should be. But I am human and many who know me would agree a very emotional one at times. There was nothing wrong with what the volunteer did but when they said, “I know who you are and you need to get behind the barrier”… I will admit I was hurt. I only want to help. Truly. But I apologize to those trying to make our sport great and safe. I should have had a badge.

My door will always be open to those who love judo. And my heart as well.

Thank you again, for everything.




  1. I am a lonely volunteer for USA Judo and volunteer my time to be a technical official for tournaments. I am not on the board or represent USA Judo organization, in any shape, manner, or form. But, I am a parent of a Judo Participant and brought my child into judo to learn discipline, to respect others, and abide by the rules. That being said. As a technical official at a tournament, I applies to the rules of USA Judo to contestant and coaches equally. And most coaches, my get a little out of shape about it but nothing major. Except, coaches of USA Olympians. The most trouble I have ever had are with Coaches who think because they Coach Olympians or have been an USA Olympian themselves, are above the rules.

    Case, and point Kayla Harrison, Jimmy Pedro, and Eddie Liddie. The rule is to sit in the coaches chair during a match. One must be in proper attire, and have the correct coaching credentials. This is explained at the coaches meeting the night before. The coaches have been explained this and are expected to follow the rules. If a coach or any person, refuses to comply, the can be removed by the local law enforcement from the building. Yet, these coaches and athletes try to use the power in the sport to ignore the rules and do has the please.

    These are the people, who should be not held to the highest standards of the rules but should follow them and set the example of integrity to the rest. Kayla, in her on words, said she was asked to leave because she did not have coach credentials. This weekend May 12th, 2018, Jimmy Pedro refused to stop coaching the coaches in the chair. This gave, the other coaches, the image that it was OK to have a 2nd coach at mat side. Jimmy used his perceived power to circumvent the rules. The current CEO, I have no idea of his name because it doesn’t matter to me, as I said I volunteer and am not a board member not do I want to be, would not stand up to Jimmy Pedro. Notice, this was not the case with Kayla Harrison under the old CEO.

    If this is the new USA Judo, direction which is to let an Oligarchy rule, then I my stop wasting my time to enforce rules that don’t apply to everyone.

    Mark K. McGehee
    Proud Parent of my child, but no longer the organization,


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