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Klimkait Makes History!

This week 128 countries and nearly 400 judoka take to the tatami, vying for olympic glory inside the Nippon Budokan for the first time since judo's olympic debut at the 1964 Tokyo Games.

Photo Credits - Judo Canada / Team Canada

On Monday July 26, 2021, while family, friends, teammates, coaches and the entire judo community waited and watched with eager anticipation, Jessica Klimkait began her assault on the -57kg division over 9000km away in Tokyo.

Incredibly, in her Olympic debut, Jessica Klimkait became the first ever Canadian female judoka to win an Olympic medal.

Entering the event as the number one ranked athlete, following her world championship victory last month, Jessica automatically advanced to the second round where she had the advantage of watching her potential opponents in action.

Once she stepped onto the tatami she wasted no time in defeating Bulgaria's Ivelina Ilieva with a smooth newaza transition to pin her opponent for ippon. She quickly followed this victory by making short work of Poland's Julia Kowalczyk, again with devastating newaza, pinning her opponent with her trademark sankaku-gatame.

These victories moved her into the semi-final where she would face France's Sarah Leonie Cysique. The pair had met in competition in five previous occasions with the tally 4-1 in Klimkait's favour. This match was tense and closely contested with two penalties a piece but Jessica lost out to her French counterpart, receiving a third penalty after over 3 minutes of golden score, .

Not to be denied a second time Klimkait set aside her previous loss and showed her grit and determination by defeating Slovenia's Kaja Kajzer by wazari in golden score, to secure her first Olympic medal.

An absolutely incredible achievement for the Ontarian capping off a whirlwind twelve months which tested her mental and physical capacity to the limits. Congratulations Jessica! A truly well deserved result that will be etched into Canadian Judo history.

Bring on Paris 2024!

Jessica was recently interviewed for Global News:

CityTV Breakfast Television recently interviewed Jessica's club coach, 2-time Olympian, Kevin Doherty.

The Globe and Mail's Rachel Brady recently interviewed Jessica.

Additional Interviews by Metroland Durham Region


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