Tag Archives: gold

28: Kayla Harrison on Winning Olympic Gold and Overcoming Trauma

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In episode 28, I talk with Kayla Harrison, first American to win Olympic gold in judo, about her training methods, visualization, competition mindset, Olympic final experience, warm-routine, Eminem and country music, overcoming a past of sexual abuse, PTSD, finding forgiveness, finding strength in judo, being coached by Jimmy Pedro, her Team Force teammates, moving up two weight classes, strength and conditioning, going to college, writing her memoir and also a book on recovering from sexual abuse, new judo rules, serving as the IJF athlete representative, and much more.

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Quotes

Kayla on the evolution of women’s judo:

“In 26 years (since Ann Marie DeMars became the first American world champion), we’ve seen women’s judo come a long long way. I’m very fortunate that I had pioneers like Ann Marie and Rusty Kanokogi and women like that who paved the way to allow me to pursue my dreams.”

Kayla on what was going on through her mind as she was stepping on the mat at the Olympics:

“I don’t know if I’ll ever forget that day. I was just a psycho. (Lol). I am very big on visualization. Before the Olympics even occurred I visualized that day a thousand time in my mind. I would go over it and over it and over it. And I would tell myself: ‘Kayla Harrison, Olympic Champion. This is my day. This is my purpose.’ And all that day, Jimmy (Pedro) was chirping in my head: ‘Do you want this more? Have you worked harder? No one deserves this more than you. You’re Kayla Harrison, Olympic Champion.’ “

Kayla giving credit for her success to her coaches:

“In order to be a great coach, you can’t be an athlete’s friend. He’s not afraid to make me cry. They are not afraid to light that fire, and tell me when I’m wrong. They are not afraid to push me when I need to be pushed, and pull back when I need to pull back. They don’t really care if I like them. I do, but they don’t really care either way.”

Kayla on whether fear/doubt enters her mind in competition:

“When I was younger I used to be pretty scared. I was more afraid of losing than I was willing to win. And when you’re afraid to lose, you don’t compete,  you don’t show up, you just worry about losing. Through the years, through experience, and just literally competing in every single tournament on the face of the Earth, I started to get into a habit… One of the things I’ve heard before and that I completely agree with is: ‘Success breeds success.’ When I start to win and I get on that roll, I don’t question myself, I don’t doubt myself. If you look at that video of me on the day of the Olympics, every match, even the one I was losing, I was losing my quarterfinal to a girl I’ve never beaten before, at no point did I question myself. I don’t know, I was a psycho. I thought I was going to win, and damned if I wasn’t going to go out there and do it. I trained too hard, worked too long, sacrificed too much, been away from my family too long to lose.”

Kayla talking about losing a match at the 2011 World championships:

Failure is my fuel. If you beat me, I’m going to sleep that night thinking about ripping your arm off.

YouTube Audio-Only Version

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24: Kyle Dake, 4x NCAA Wrestling Champion

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In episode 24, I talk with Kyle Dake, 4x NCAA champion, Dan Hodge trophy winner, and 2013 SI College Athlete of the Year, about a tradition of wrestling in his family, early wrestling days, the influence of his mom and dad, setting goals, overcoming losses early in his career, facing Jordan Burroughs, David Taylor, Andrew Howe, competing with a broken hand against a 2x world champion, Denis Tsargush, training to exhaustion, keeping the training fun, being pushed by training partners like Jordan Leen, Call of Duty, Breaking Bad, and much more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Audio Clips on YouTube

Quotes

Kyle on the mental toughness advice his mom gave him:

“Your mind will break before your body will break.”

Kyle on his approach to the intense pace of competition:

“You have to learn how to function when you’re dog-tired… when you don’t think your body is capable of doing anything more, but you have to do more. You can either cower, give up takedowns, give up points, submit to the guy, or you can do everything in your power to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Kyle on the training to exhaustion:

“Feeling that exhaustive state is very important in the practice room, because once you get on the mat and you’ve felt that pain before, you’ve felt that exhaustion, it’s a lot easier to overcome it in competition.”

Jordan Leen, Kyle’s teammate and NCAA champ out of Cornell, said the following in an ESPN commentary as Kyle was wrestling in his 2010 NCAA finals match:

“Kyle Dake refuses to accept failure at any level. He takes it personally when he gets taken down in the room. It affects his soul almost. He is a well balanced wrestler, but they key is that he has to win. According to him, he has to win. He will do anything that it took to win.”

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18: Ilias Iliadis Interview

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In episode 18, I talk with Ilias Iliadis. He is truly one of the legends of judo, an Olympic gold and bronze medalist, two-time world champion, and 5-time world medalist. And still only 26 years old (turning 27 two days after the interview and of course training on his birthday). We talk about his birthday two days after the interview, his son and daughter, his father and coach, starting at a young age, the 2004 Olympics,  the 2010 and 2011 world championships, Mark Huizinga, Varlam Liparteliani, Mark Anthony, winning international tournaments in four different weight classes (73kg, 81kg, 90kg, 100kg), Teddy Riner, 2013 world championships, ogoshi, seoi nage, no-gi, and more.

Subscribe on iTunes or RSS, and check out the facebook page.

Thank you to Teo BJJ for hosting us for the interview. And thank you to my friend Niko for helping make it all happen.

Video Version of Interview

Quotes

Ilias Iliadis on when he first thought he could be an Olympic gold medalist:

“When I was young I dreamed I could be Olympic champion. I believed it then. But it happened even faster than in my dreams.”

Ilias Iliadis on learning from a loss:

“I believe when you lose you learn. You gain experience.”

Ilias Iliadis on maintaining the edge on the best in the world:

“If you want to take the tile, you have to be training, always. When I’m training, I think of my opponent and how he is training. I want to always be training more than my opponent.”

Ilias Iliadis on there not being any one element that is most important for a throw:

“In judo, when you do a technique, you need your whole body.”

Ilias Iliadis on the uncertainty of a judo match:

“Every competition is important for me, and every competition I think I can win. But this is judo. Everybody has a chance.”

Iliad Iliadis on whether he likes the new judo rules:

“We are athletes. We can’t change anything. All we can do is fight and win.”

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