6:27 12 nov

A Summer with Marti Malloy

English version of an article of L'Esprit du judo #52

Right after London Olympic Games, we introduced you Marti Malloy [cf. L’Esprit du judo #40], "woman sana in corpore sano" as she is. This time, the American athlete was OK for going further. Even if she didn’t get a medal in Chelyabinsk, the trip was the real goal and the goal, finally, came after*.


August 2014 in Chelyabinsk, Russia ©DR/L'Esprit du judo

On June 23rd, 2014, Marti Louise Malloy turned 28. Borned in Oak Harbor (Washington State, on the rainy north portion of the Pacific coast of the US), the #4 at the Ranking list of the -57kg category didn’t need to create a Doodle to know where she will be two months later. "Chelyanbinsk, August 27th, Marti’s day!" is her last sentence to end every Skype session this summer, adding a smile and a wink. The challenge is connected to her linear increasing. 5th in Paris 2011, 3rd in London 2012, 2nd in Rio 2013. For her the russian World Championships would be the 6th of a career started as a -63kg in the shadow of the icon Valerie Gotay [cf. EDJ14].

NERVE. The only girl of the four childs of the Malloy’s clan starts the summer as fresh as her season starts for real in the same time. In November 2013, Tokyo Grand Slam was her first tournament since her silver medal in Rio. She came 2nd, defeated by the Japanese Udaka who will turn world champion nine months later. Then a knee alert put her out of the mat during the two months who will follow the european training camps of Lignano and Mittersill. Winner of the Panamerican Championships at the end of april in Ecuador, she’s surprised in her first match in june during the Havana Grand Prix by the invasive kumi kata and the twisted kata guruma of the Cuban Aliuska Ojeda – who had previously already beaten Marti during the team competition of the "Panam". Right after the tournament, during el campo de entrenamiento, the American will consider as a matter of honor to make this oponent fall at least once a day… After Cuba, she takes bronze then silver at the Panamerican Open of San Salvador and the Grand Slam of Tyumen. In both tournaments, she’s beaten by her eight years old younger oponent, the Canadian Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard. This junior even got the nerve to deny her the prestigious access to the first place of the World ranking of the category.


Marti Malloy with her long time teammate Travis Stevens ©Marie Pedro/L'Esprit du judo

HYUNDAI. This year 2014 is a birthday too. Ten years ago, Marti took a really important decision for her career. We are right after summer 2004. The second olympic medal of Jimmy Pedro is still in the retina of each single US judo player. Constant on the national podiums since she turned 16, this military’s daughter understands that she could stagnate if she doesn’t escape from her hometown dojo. Aged 18 like her, a youngster named Travis Stevens makes her a proposal: let’s live and train with him at his grand-parents house. It’s in Tacoma, in the suburbs of Seattle, WA, in the middle of the Interstate 5 between Vancouver and Portland. "We stayed two or three months in Tacoma, remembers the champion. As we didn’t find there what we expected, we put our bags in Travis car’s trunck and then decided to spend six weeks in San Jose, six weeks at Colorado Springs then six weeks at the Pedro’s. Our idea was to stay where the training was the best for us". The first californian step will be the good one. The white Hyundai Excel will pass away very few times after these first 1,400 kilometers, a soaked cloth as a plug for the fuel tank. "I drove twelve hours in a row, reminds the -81kg. We never get to Colorado Springs. Marti found in San Jose what she was in search of. After two years, I went directly to the Pedro’s in Boston… by plane, this time!"

CAMP. At the San Jose State University, where she will succesively graduate in advertising, psychology and new medias, Marti lives daily close to a fold - underrated in Occident – of the US West Coast history. Mike Swain, Shintaro Nakano and overall Yoshihiro Uchida will become her mentors. The first of them became in 1987 the first World champion of the american judo history. Now the -73kg from Mexico David Torres, currently Marti’s boyfriend since years, works with him in his martial arts outfit company. The second was national junior champion in Japan. It was in 1998 and 1999, in the -60kg category. Last but not least, the third is 94 years old and still intractable in ne waza. His life is just "capital", as Marti explains. In 1956, he was for example the first, with another colleague from Berkeley University, to imagine an innovative system of weight categories. For the record, the dojo were Marti is training wears now the name of the old sensei. He’s located – it sounds like a silent japanese revenge – in the same local where during World War II, Mister Uchida’s parents and brothers were jailed in internment camp…


With "Mister" Yosh Uchida ©Christal Ransom/L'Esprit du judo

SATO. Back in 2014. As like for every summer, Marti is training with Shintaro, Mike and some team partners who make the effort to not escape from the campus during the universitary holidays. "The less we are on the mat, the more studious we are" she says, coming back from one of these canicular training session and looking the bright side of the situation. On August 2nd, she wins the Miami Open. This last warm-up before the Worlds allows her to turn #3 at the ranking. Then she goes to Boston for one week training camp at the Pedro’s, for once without the canadian neighbours – due maybe to the close rivalties in -57kg (Marti vs. Beauchemin-Pinard), -78kg (Harrison vs. Roberge) and -81kg (Stevens vs. Valois-Fortier). She spends there unforgettable parties at her best friend Kayla Harrison’s big flat – both of them "firmed" a kind of hedonist contact until the Games… Then back to San Jose for a last studious week with a luxury sparring named… Aiko Sato, 2011 World champion, now coach at Ryotokugi’s University with some famous athletes like Nishida and Fukumi. "Before London, I was in search of a sparring. It happened that Aiko was distanced by Matsumoto for the Games. Plus, she already had beaten Pavia. And she was in San Jose for holidays, because she wanted to register at the University to improve her english." A financial deal is found between the two sides. During one year, the Japanese became the luxury partner expected and, even more, a good friend of the American. Back in Japan last spring, she is the one who proposed this last summer’s help to Marti.

MATSUMOTO. Marti never sat in a draw before. Now it’s done since this Sunday August 24th, in front of a screen of the Malakhit hotel of Chelyabinsk. The direct impact is like a front-kick: her first match will be against the japanese Olympic champion Kaori Matsumoto! "I’m ready" just reacts the challenger in a smile… Three days later, then. It’s 12:44 am on mat 1. The clash only lasted 24 seconds. That’s the time the American needed to "hear three times the horrible sound of the crack of the bones of Matsumoto’s elbow", while she was attempting a terrible juji-gatame to her obstinate oponent. "After that for me she was the favorite" will confess later the Brazilian Rafaela Silva, still the reigning champion of the category. But… Winning so fastly against a girl that she admits "being studying since six years" was a kind of trap. Mentally, the winner needed a few seconds to focus on the following match against Telma Monteiro. That’s just the time the crafty Portuguese needed to throw her on a reversed-seoi nage announced yuko. Marti won’t see her back till the end, her experienced oponent alternating between false attacks, topknot readjustment and tactical limps. It is 1:38 pm on August 27th in Chelyabinsk. A golden dream just passed away. "She telmatised you" will sigh Marti’s boyfriend by SMS. "I wish the fight would have last one minut more because the shidos were starting to fall" will regret Jimmy Pedro, speaking between the lines of the shortcut lasting of the women matches. "It’s just happened, will comment the day after the first concerned, and it’s not necessary to whip a dead horse." The following? "Who knows? I will be 30 in Rio, 34 in Tokyo… I would really love to become World champion before I quit, and in the same time I feel that I'd love to start my life too." Welcome to the golden age of the golden score. WRITTEN AND TRANSLATED BY ANTHONY DIAO

 


Nothing is better than a summer with her best friend Kayla Harrison ©Marie Pedro/L'Esprit du judo

*Find the original french version of this article in L'Esprit du judo #52 (october-november 2014), currently in stores.

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