Marti Malloy: An Expert Now, But Still A Student Of Her Sport

BY DAVE ROYSE  from USA Judo| MAY 11, 2015, 5:22 P.M. (ET)

Marti Malloy produces a Juji Gatame to score Ippon and reach the -57 kg. final at the Zagreb Grand Prix on May 1, 2015 in Zagreb, Croatia.

It’s been more than a decade since a teenage Marti Malloy, just starting out as a serious judo competitor in Washington state, would set out around the region for judo clinics given by the sport’s most successful American athletes at the time.

When world champions Mike Swain or Jimmy Pedro, or fellow Washington native and Olympian Sandra Bacher, were teaching at a clinic or camp, there would be that Malloy kid, soaking up knowledge.

She was a good student.

Marti Malloy visits USA House at the Royal College of Art on July 30, 2012 in London.

Now 15 years on, Malloy has a bronze medal from the London 2012 Olympic Games, one of just a handful of judo medals won by Americans over the years. And she took silver at the 2013 world championships — another tournament where few Americans have been on the medal stand, in what is one of the more popular sports in Europe and Asia.

“Now I’m in the crazy position where I’m the one doing judo seminars,” said Malloy.

But while Malloy, now 29, has become undeniably one of American judo’s biggest stars and one of the nation’s strongest hopes for Olympic hardware in the sport in 2016, it might be her mindset about where she is in her judo trajectory that makes her so formidable.

For all the times she’s asked to go somewhere and be the one teaching her techniques to that next generation, more than anything, Malloy is still a student of the sport — just like that teenager 15 years ago.

“I can always improve in some way,” said Malloy, a deliberate trainer who picks apart every second of matches she’s lost, and diligently studies potential opponents. “The judo player I was six months ago is not as good as the judo player I am now. And I hope three months from now, I’ll be even better.

“You can spend your entire life doing judo and still be learning and improving.”

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