Emotional gold-medal moment for Kayla Harrison
LONDON (WHDH) -- To know her story is to love her Olympic win even more -- and watching Kayla Harrison as the national anthem played was a powerful moment.
Kayla Harrison made history; the 22-year-old became the first American to win a gold medal in judo.
First she bear hugged for her Wakefield coach Jimmy Pedro, then she found her fiancé, Marblehead firefighter Aaron Handy.
"Since 2010 I’ve had nothing on my mind but winning in London," Harrison said.
Kayla sobbed as the national anthem played with the gold medal draped around her neck.
The road to gold wasn't easy. Kayla started judo at age six, and then at the age of 13 Kayla endured years of sexual abuse at the hands of her former judo coach. He's since pleaded guilty and is now in prison.
That's when she moved to Wakefield to train with Pedro and his father.
"Big Jim -- That’s what I call Jimmy Pedro senior. He's kind of like a father figure, grandfather, best friend," Harrison said.
The golden girl has made history and is on top of the world.
She says she got there by sheer determination.
“I don't think that I’m more talented than any of the girls in my division, and don't' think I have outstanding technique. I don’t think that I’m head and shoulders above them. I think that what’s going to win this tournament is first of all, heart. I want this so bad,” Harrison said.
Now that she's won gold -- what's next? Kayla says she wants to work alongside her future husband as a Marblehead firefighter.