LONDON – Kayla Harrison gave the U.S. its first judo gold medal in Olympic history, taking the 78-kilogram title Thursday at the London Games.
Harrison defeated Britain's Gemma Gibbons in a final she dominated from the start, getting a stronger grip on Gibbons and managing to throw her twice.
Her medal is the U.S.' second in judo this week: Teammate Marti Malloy won a bronze in the women's 57-kilogram division.
Harrison, world No. 4 and a former world champion, was in top form, dispatching many of her opponents with a match-ending ippon move, one in less than a minute. Harrison said she was focused on the gold.
"This is my purpose," she said.
The bronze medals were won by Audrey Tcheumeo of France and Mayra Aguiar of Brazil.