Ronda Rousey

When Ronda Rousey competed at the Olympics

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Even when Ronda Rousey was at the height of her MMA fame, she spoke about the most crushing defeat of her career — that her Olympic judo medal was bronze and not gold.

“That was my childhood dream,” Rousey said in October 2015, two weeks before the first of two UFC defeats that ultimately led to her retirement. “I spent my whole life in pursuit of that. I had to give that up, and I had to really come to terms with the fact that wasn’t for me. I’ve always really been heartbroken from that in a way, and in a way that I’m still really grateful for because I think if I did win the Olympics, I wouldn’t have this never-ending resource of motivation that I have. Every single time I go out there to defend my [UFC] title, it’s like another chance to redeem myself, but it’s never quite an Olympic gold medal.

“In judo, you train your whole life, and you have one day to be an Olympic champion, and that’s it. … Nothing can compare to that pressure.”

Rousey was the face of U.S. judo in the mid-2000s. In 2004, she became the youngest American judoka to compete in an Olympics, losing in the first round at age 17.

Rousey entered the 2008 Beijing Games as a world championships silver medalist. She had a chance to become the second American woman to win a global judo title. The first? Mom AnnMaria De Mars, who bagged the 1984 World title, four years before Olympic judo opened to women (first as a demonstration sport).

“My mom always said she wanted me to know what it feels like to be best in the world because, no matter what happens to you later, you’ll always have that as inspiration to know you can do anything you want,” Rousey said in Beijing.

Rousey didn’t quite get there in judo. She was halted in the quarterfinals by Dutchwoman Edith Bosch, whom the 5-foot-7 Rousey described in her autobiography as “a six-foot Dutch chick with an eight-pack. I looked like a hobbit next to her.”

Bosch had dislocated Rousey’s elbow in two matches in 2007. At the Olympics, they went scoreless in regulation to force a five-minute overtime where the first to score wins. Rousey went for a throw, was countered and turned onto the mat.

“I went back to the warm-up room and sobbed, hot tears running down my face,” Rousey wrote. “I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. Then something clicked and I went from devastated to f—— furious.”

She marched through the repechage, winning all three matches to take the bronze medal. Rousey may not have left a world champion, but she became the first U.S. woman to earn an Olympic judo medal.

“Of all the third-place finishes in my career, the bronze in the Olympics was the only one I took any satisfaction in,” Rousey wrote. “But still, there was a void.”

Rousey took a year off, returned to training in 2009 and competed in 2010. She hoped to continue in judo and start mixed martial arts. But she and coach Jimmy Pedro split, and soon after Rousey canceled a trip to a Brazilian tournament and began focusing on MMA.

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Lindsey Vonn, Ronda Rousey among athletes featured on Shark Week

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Olympic medalists Lindsey Vonn and Ronda Rousey headline an athlete roster appearing on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week in two months.

They follow Michael Phelps‘ much talked about Shark Week shows last year.

Vonn will appear on a show called “Monster Tag.” Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski are also included.

They “will join forces with top shark scientists to learn crucial information about the ocean’s top predators,” according to Discovery Channel.

Rousey, a 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist, will dive with a mako shark in “Uncaged: Shark vs. Ronda Rousey.” The title is similar to “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White” from last year.

“First, Rousey, in a cage, dives into the ring with several lightweight shark species in the waters off Fiji and then moves onto the main event in New Zealand where she’ll ‘free dive uncaged’ with the heavyweight mako shark,” according to Discovery Channel.

More on Shark Week from Discovery Channel is here.

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Ronda Rousey: UFC return just as likely as Olympic return

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Ronda Rousey repeated that she doesn’t know if she will return to UFC in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres published Tuesday.

“It’s just as likely as me going to back to another Olympics for judo,” the 31-year-old Rousey said. “No one demanded a written resignation from me for judo, and I don’t really think the same thing is necessary for fighting. I’m just doing what I enjoy, and WWE is what I enjoy right now.”

Rousey, a 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist, is now under contract with WWE. She is scheduled for a match debut at WrestleMania on April 8 in a mixed tag-team event with 1996 Olympic wrestling champion Kurt Angle as her partner.

“I’m nervous, but it’s not like Olympics nervous,” Rousey said. “The worst thing that’ll happen is I’ll look stupid.”

Rousey said in an ESPN interview published Jan. 28 that WWE has “first priority on my time the next several years.” Rousey shrugged off a question about retirement from mixed martial arts.

“That’s what everybody else seems to say,” Rousey said. “I mean, I never retired from judo. If that’s what you guys want to think, all I know is that I really want to devote 100 percent of my time to wrestling right now, and whatever people want to call that, they can call it.”

Previously, Rousey said she needed “to take some time to reflect and think about the future” on Dec. 31, 2016, one day after losing her second straight UFC fight via a brutal TKO at the pummeling hands of Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in Las Vegas.

Rousey has been out of MMA ever since.

UFC president Dana White said in January 2017 that he believed Rousey would never fight in UFC again.

“I think she’s probably done,” White said then. “I think she’s going to ride off into the sunset and start living her life outside of fighting.”

White said he made those comments after speaking to Rousey earlier that same day.

“Her spirits are good. She’s doing her own thing,” he said. “In the conversation that I had with her, if I had to say right here, right now — and, again, I don’t like saying right here, right now because, you know, it’s up to her and her thing — but I wouldn’t say she fights again.”

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