Ronda Rousey recalls World Judo Championships adversity, post-Olympic binging in new book

Ronda Rousey
2 Comments

Ronda Rousey, the UFC champion and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist judoka, detailed extreme experiences at the 2007 World Judo Championships and developing a “pot-and-Vicodin habit” after the Beijing 2008 Games in reports quoting her book, “My Fight/Your Fight,” to be released Tuesday.

Before rising to stardom as a UFC fighter, Rousey competed in judo at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. She took her first global championship medal, a silver, at the 2007 Worlds in Rio de Janeiro.

Rousey detailed her experience in Rio in an explicit book excerpt published by Jezebel:

“I woke up ready to kill somebody,” Rousey wrote.

She went on to recall having to lose one pound to make weight on the morning of weigh-ins and competition, and then each of her fights, including in the quarterfinals against Brazilian Mayra Aguiar, the biggest rival to 2012 U.S. Olympic champion Kayla Harrison.

“The arena had been steadily filling up and was now closing in on three-quarters full,” Rousey wrote, according to Jezebel. “In contrast to the Japanese fans with their cheer coordinator, the Brazilian fans were the complete opposite. Unadulterated pandemonium. The Brazilians were the craziest, most passionate crowd I had ever experienced. They were blaring blow horns and flying flags. One section was covered by a massive Brazilian flag the fans were holding up.

“They booed me as I walked onto the mat, chanting ‘You’re gonna die’ in Portuguese. I noted the noise, assessing the impact it might have on the referees. I was going to have to win more definitively. Up against the roar of the crowd, I took her to the mat and pinned her for ippon with thirty seconds left on the clock. The Brazilian fans booed me viciously as I walked off the mat.”

Rousey went on to write that one of her elbows was dislocated by a semifinal opponent, whom Rousey ended up beating before losing to France’s Gevrise Emane in the final.

“The world championship had slipped through my fingers,” Rousey wrote, according to Jezebel. “Every time I closed my eyes, even to blink, I saw Émane throwing her arms in the air in jubilation. I had no one to blame but myself. I had let it come down to points. I had failed. It hurt to breathe.

“After the competition had ended for the day, I walked up into the stands where the crowd had been cheering for me so loudly hours before. I had to call my mom back home, but I couldn’t do it yet. Making that call would require finding the strength to say: I lost. My gut twisted. I climbed to the very top of the seats. The arena was nearly empty. I settled myself at the end of a row of seats, up against a corner, pulled my knees up to my chest, and cried harder than I ever had since Dad died.”

The next year, Rousey fell in the Olympic quarterfinals to the same opponent who she said dislocated her elbow in the Worlds semis — the Netherlands’ Edith Bosch.

Rousey advanced through the repechage to earn bronze in Beijing.

Afterward, she wanted a year off “to party,” she wrote, according to the New York Post, which reported Rousey “began smoking and drinking heavily, often beginning her day with a cigarette and a vodka espresso. She developed a pot-and-Vicodin habit.”

Rousey eventually quit judo under less-than-ideal circumstances before she took up mixed martial arts and became the dominant champion she is today.

Ronda Rousey says top female fighter Cyborg is ‘a known fraud’

Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin
Getty
0 Comments

Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to SkatingScores.com, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Lara Gut-Behrami wins Killington giant slalom, and the overall title race may be on

0 Comments

Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami rallied from third place after the first run for her 35th career World Cup victory, taking a giant slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Saturday.

Gut-Behrami, 31, earned her fifth World Cup giant slalom win and first in six years. She prevailed by .07 of a second over Italian Marta Bassino combining times from two windy runs. Sweden’s Sara Hector, the Olympic champion and first-run leader, ended up third.

“Last two years I’ve been getting better in GS again,” said Gut-Behrami, who won the GS at the last world championships in 2021. “Last year I was struggling with my health. I was all the time sick.”

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Gut-Behrami’s best events are downhill and super-G, so a strong start to the season in GS could put her on a path to winning the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. She previously lifted that crystal globe in 2016.

Reigning World Cup overall champ Mikaela Shiffrin, who previously placed second, third, fourth and fifth in Killington giant slaloms, finished 13th after winning the season’s first two races, slaloms in Finland last week. It marked her lowest World Cup GS finish since December 2019.

“[Finland] was a spectacular weekend,” Shiffrin, who has not had much recent GS training, said after her 10th-place opening run Saturday. “Every race is a different story.”

Shiffrin won all five World Cup slaloms in Killington dating to 2016 and will go for her 50th career World Cup slalom victory across all venues on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock).

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!