The San Jose State judo team is known for creating Olympians and this year it continues its legacy.
SJSU judokas Marti Malloy and Colton Brown will represent the U.S. Judo team at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. “It’s really awesome that two of the six people in the judo team are SJSU alumni,” says Malloy.
As her second time around, Malloy participated in the 2012 London Olympics and won a bronze medal in the 57-kilogram weight class. This time she is aiming for gold and hopes all her hard work and training pay off.
“I have a different mind set,” she says. “I have gained a lot of confidence in the last four years.”
Malloy started doing judo at the age of 6 and has won countless medals and awards since then.
Being part of judo competitions and training for almost her whole life has shaped her into the person she is today.
“There’s a huge competitive spirit and it really develops you as a person,” she says. “It transfers over to real life.”
She has participated in the Pan American Judo Championships since 2010, winning three gold medals and three silver. In 2013 she won a silver medal at the Tokyo Grand Slam.
Preparation for the Olympics started with three weeks of intense training in Europe and two weeks in Boston. Malloy’s training buddy is Colton Brown, a promising young judoka who says he’s looked up to Brown for a while now.
“She’s always been a mentor to me and led by example,” Brown says of Malloy.
Hailing from New Jersey, Brown’s father pushed him into judo at the age of 11 after a Pop Warner injury took him off the gridiron. Brown says he had “no choice” but to participate. But little by little, he began to appreciate the sport.
In 2010 he won a gold medal in the Pan Am Junior Championships and a bronze medal in the 2013 Miami Grand Prix. In April he won silver in the Pan American Judo Championships and placed seventh in the Almaty Grand Prix which qualified him to the Olympics.
“It’s been extremely hard but I am thankful for being here,” says Brown.
Now, he heads off to the Olympics with a simple goal: “I just want to be the best version of myself. I’m just going to go out there and give it my best.”
Both Malloy and Brown were trained by legendary judo coach Yoshihiro Uchida at SJSU who trained the first US Olympic judo team in 1964.