Marti Malloy, a 2004 graduate of Oakland Harbor High on Whidbey Island, was the first American judoka woman to win an Olympic medal. She was a nominee for Female Star of the Year.
Marti Malloy is among those athletes in low-profile Olympic sports who dedicate themselves for every reason other than glory — and then hit it.
The Oak Harbor High School and San Jose State graduate became the first American woman to win a medal in judo when she took bronze in London by beating defending Olympic champion Giulia Quintavalle of Italy. The upset was significant because Malloy came in ranked 11th in the world and was considered a long shot to medal.
The bronze is considered the toughest medal because it matches two exhausted losers of semifinal matches less than a half-hour earlier.
“You want to be mad and angry and upset,” Malloy said in London after her match. “But my coach pulled me aside and said, ‘You came here to win.’ ”
Malloy, 26, took her frustration out by scoring a decisive ippon — judo’s version of a knockout — to reach the podium in the 57-kilogram (125-pound) division.
After her first Olympics, Malloy was a nominee for Female Star of the Year at the 78th annual Star of the Year event Jan. 26 at Benaroya Hall. She stopped by SPNW’s red-carpet booth to talk with Art Thiel about the sacrifice that went into her success.