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Judo is an under recognized sport in the United States. But with Olympic competition, it breeds some of the best athletes and competition in the world. One of the best in recent times to do it was Brazil’s Ketleyn Quadros. If you don’t know who she is, you should. Quadros is the first ever woman from Brazil to win a medal in a single-athlete sport. Her place in history is already etched and is still being written at the same time.
Many Olympians start their respective sport at a young age and get a head start on training and become naturals at said sport. Quadros found judo at a very young age herself. She found herself switching from swimming to judo full time due to the competitive nature of the sport.
“Judo has always been a passion since the first class I watched. It was love at first sight in those classes. It entered my life at the age of 7 on the way to my swimming class. I was doing judo and swimming at the age of 12 and choose to follow only in judo due to competitions. The competition happened in a natural way. I know the history of judo with idols and watching them conquer thus arousing the desire to compete and put into practice everything I trained.”
While Quadros and her sporting takes her around the world, she still enjoys time with her family and her friends. When she’s in Brazil she spends time with her loved ones.
“I like to travel, visit family and meet friends at home whenever possible and barbecue. I love being close to the people who love me.”
Ketleyn Quadros and Brazilian Judo
Is alluded to earlier, Ketleyn Quadros has her name etched in Brazilian history. She was the first individual woman to ever medal in the Olympic Games. The legacy she’s put on the sport has led to so many more accomplishments by the Brazilian women judo community. Quadros says it has molded her as a person and looking back, is simply grateful for the position her team and family put her in to get to that level and accomplish what she has.
“It was undoubtedly an incredible moment in my life. The recognition of a hard work done not only by me, but by my family, friends, my first teachers who, even without an adequate structure, always believed and donated and donate themselves today for opportunities and feeds dream like mine. At the time, I was still in training, I was a junior athlete, but I have always dedicated a lot and being part of the history of Brazilian judo and being able to contribute so that today we have several achievements, that was incredible. It was a challenging moment thinking about the extra tatami charges but on the other hand it was transformative. Look back I am happy with my process, grateful for each experience and very proud of the person I have become.”
But not all that glitters is gold and as one of the best athletes in the world, Quadros is not satisfied with the bronze medal won in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Since then, she’s worked on her craft becoming the best judoka she can be. But it’s not really for glory. Instead, Quadros sees herself on a personal journey and plans to see how far she can take it.
“That is the purpose of feeling myself evolving and better every day. I feel like a more experienced athlete and I am better aware of my positive points and the points that need to be improved so I feel better. Because I keep evolving and feeling that way is the best feeling.”
Again, Ketleyn Quadros is looking for consistent and constant improvement. After capturing gold in the Pan American Judo Championships, Quadros and her team are looking to take what they learned at the Pan Ams and make the proper adjustments for a successful Olympic cycle.
“The focus on improvement is constant. There is always something that needs to improve, adjust and raise awareness. Every result is an answer and we need to be attentive to understand and improve with each experience.”
Regardless of where she’s heading, judo has brought Quadros to many places she didn’t ever think she’d see. But the one thing that she is thankful for the most that the sport of judo has brought her, it is her impact as a judoka, an athlete, and a woman. “It’s undoubtedly the opportunity to change and transform lives bringing hope and opportunity for transformation through sport,” Ketleyn Quadros says of the impact that judo has had on her life.
Judo has taught Quadros many things. But her greatest joy she’s got out of competing is learning about herself and the human spirit.
“The main inheritances are the examples of persevering human beings, warriors and the know how to fight for what you love. I believe that this memory is our basis.”
As for what’s next, Ketleyn Quadros says that there are so many opportunities. But, despite that bright future, it’s this upcoming Olympic Games that has her complete and undivided attention. She says, “There are countless opportunities. But the focus is total in this cycle.”
While Ketleyn Quadros has achieved so much, her greatest accomplishments, and toughest tasks for that matter, lie ahead of her. In the Tokyo Olympic Games, Quadros only continues her journey forward.