Judo Day 3 preview: Marti Malloy seeks another medal, Nick Delpopolo seeks redemption

Marti Malloy/Nick Delpopolo

Two American judokas will take the mat on Monday for Day 3 of judo. Both previously competed at the London Games, but their experiences could not have been any more different.

For Marti Malloy, a 2012 bronze medalist, her success in London has been the crowning achievement of her career – so far. Malloy has continued to be a medal contender in international events over the last four years. She enters the Rio Games as the No. 3 seed in the tournament and is expected to contend for a medal – possibly even gold – in the women’s 57kg (125.5 lbs) division.

Outside of Olympic competition, Malloy earned silver at the 2013 World Championships and gold at the 2015 Pan American Games.

The competition will be tough in Rio, as the 57kg class returns all four medalists from the London Olympics: Japan’s Kaori Matsumoto (the gold medalist), Romania’s Corina Caprioriu (the silver medalist), France’s Automne Pavia (the other bronze medalist) and Malloy.

If Malloy were to win another Olympic medal on Monday, she would become the first U.S. athlete to win judo medals at back-to-back Olympics. The U.S. coach, Jimmy Pedro, has two bronze medals to his name, but they were non-consecutive.

For Nick Delpopolo, this Olympics is about redemption.

In 2012, Delpopolo won his first two matches before losing in the quarterfinal round. But he was later disqualified altogether after failing a drug test. Delpopolo tested positive for marijuana, which he maintains was the result of accidentally eating a brownie that, unbeknownst to him, was baked with cannabis.

Afraid that he would never be able to shake the label of “the guy who got kicked out of the Olympics because of a pot brownie,” Delpopolo contemplated retirement from the sport. He ultimately decided to rededicate himself to training for the Olympics, determined to redefine his career.

“One thing I’ve learned from my setbacks is that defeat does not define you,” Delpopolo recently wrote. “Move on to thinking about how you’re going to overcome detractors; think of setbacks as challenges and let your journey to redemption define you.”

Pot brownies aside, the road to these Olympics has been an improbable one for decades, going all the way back to Delpopolo’s early years. He was born in Montenegro and spent the first years of his life in an orphanage before he was adopted by an American couple and brought to the U.S.

The next chapter will be written on Monday when Delpopolo competes in the men’s 73kg (161 lbs) division.

Here’s what else to know for Day 3 of competition.

Schedule and live stream links
Prelims (9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET): Mat 1 | Mat 2
Finals (2:30 p.m. – 5:10 p.m. ET): Medal Matches

The first block will feature preliminary and quarterfinal matches, and will take place on two separate mats, each with a dedicated live stream.

The final block will feature repechage matches, semifinals, Bronze Medal Matches and Gold Medal Matches.

Women’s 57kg
Top seeds:

  • 1.  Sumiya Dorjsuren (MGL)
  • 2.  Kim Jan-Di (KOR)
  • 3.  Marti Malloy (USA)
  • 4.  Kaori Matsumoto (JPN)

Full bracket

Men’s 73kg
Top seeds:

  • 1. An Chang-Rim (KOR)
  • 2. Rustam Orujov (AZE)
  • 3. Sagi Muki (ISR)
  • 4. Lasha Shavdatuashvili (GEO)

Full bracket

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