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London 2012 Olympics: Ohio Native Kayla Harrison Uses Judo To Overcome Abuse

Kayla Harrison, who won the 2010 World Judo Championships and is a favorite win do the same at the Olympics, has used judo to overcome sexual abuse from her former coach.

DALLAS, TX - MAY 13:  Judo athlete, Kayla Harrison poses for a portrait during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 13, 2012 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - MAY 13: Judo athlete, Kayla Harrison poses for a portrait during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 13, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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Kayla Harrison, a Middletown, Ohio, native who will compete in Judo at the London Olympics, has used the sport to overcome traumatic experience.

The Boston Herald had this article about how Harrison, 22, took refuge in judo after years-long sexual abused by her judo coach, Daniel Doyle.

From the Herald:

Doyle, who was 16 years her elder, had become a trusted family friend, taking Harrison on trips to competitions all over the world....

Faced with such an ordeal, [Harrison's mother] made what she called a "heart-wrenching" decision to send her daughter from the family's home in Middletown, Ohio, to Wakefield to train with the foremost judo coaches in America, Jimmy Pedro Jr. and his father "Big Jim" Pedro Sr.

"I did not want to come up here, I did not want to judo anymore, I didn't want to be the strong girl who overcame it. I hated it," Harrison said. "I wanted to run away. I wanted to just start over and start a brand new life; just pretend like none of it had ever happened."

Harrison, who has been competing in judo since she was six years-old, will be in the 78-kilo (172-pound) class at the Olympics. She won the gold at the 2010 World Judo Championship and is, according to The Herald, a favorite to win at the Olympics as well.

Be sure to check out SB Nation's Olympic coverage.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.