August 26, 2005
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – USA Judo is pleased to announce the athlete
and staff rosters for the 2005 World Judo Championships Team that will compete
September 8-11 in Cairo, Egypt.
Fourteen athletes will represent Team USA, including three Olympians. The team
will be led by Head Coach Ed Liddie (Colorado Springs, Colo.), a bronze medalist
at the 1984 Games, and Coach Jason Morris (Scotia, N.Y.), a silver medalist
at the 1992 Games.
“I think this team has a great deal of potential for success in Cairo
and I look forward to seeing them in action,” said Dr. Ron Tripp (Norman,
Okla.), President of USA Judo and Head of Delegation.
On the men’s side, Taraje Williams-Murray (Bronx, N.Y./60kg.), is the
lone carryover from the Athens Olympic Team, but his teammates have a wealth
of experience as well.
Ryan Reser (Colorado Springs, Colo./73kg.) hopes to continue his string of
recent success, having won the Pacific Rim Championships in June as well as
the Pan American Championships in April. An alternate to the 2000 and 2004 Olympic
Teams behind two-time Olympic medalist Jimmy Pedro, Reser was the only American
to strike gold at the Pacific Rims in both 2001 and 2005.
Reser and Williams-Murray are joined by three bronze medalists from the 2005
Pan American Championship Team in Aaron Cohen (Glenville, N.Y./81kg.), Dariusz
Mkolajczak (Brooklyn, N.Y./90kg.) and Kirk Hoffman (Colorado Springs, Colo./+100kg.)
Hoffman and Reser are both members of the Olympic Training Center Judo Club,
led by Head Coach Liddie, and Cohen is training at the Jason Morris Judo Club
with Coach Morris.
At 25-years-old, Justin Flores (Menlo Park, Calif./66kg.) is the oldest member
of this young squad and had key international wins in 2004, taking gold at the
Rendez Vous Canada and bronze at the Pan American Championships.
The women’s team also has a great deal of depth, led by Olympians Ronda
Rousey (Scotia, N.Y./63kg.) and Valerie Gotay (Temecula, Calif./57kg.)
Eighteen-year-old Rousey took the judo world by storm in 2003, dominating her
division in the United States and becoming the youngest member of the 2004 Olympic
Team where she finished ninth, tying the highest finish for an American woman
at the Athens Games. Two months later Rousey was back in action again, becoming
only the second American ever to win the Junior World Championships in Budapest,
By contrast, Gotay won her first international competition, the Canadian National
Exhibition, the same year Rousey was born (1987). A member of the 1992 Olympic
Team, Valerie, now 31-years-old, retired that year and hung up her gi until
2004 when she won a silver medal at the British Open and nearly qualified for
the Athens Team, taking second place at the Olympic Trials.
This year Gotay has continued her success winning the Pan American Championships
and becoming one of only two American women holding an “A-level”
ranking. The other being teammate Carrie Chandler (Glenville, N.Y./52kg.) who
also took gold at the 2005 Pan American Championships.
Chandler, Rousey and Katie Mocco (Glenville, N.Y/70kg.), a fifth place finisher
at this year’s Pan American Championships, all train win with Morris at
the Jason Morris Judo Club.
“It’s just going to be great to have our hometown coach with us
at the Worlds,” Chandler said.
Morris agreed, adding: “This is huge for us to basically be able to grow
together and I’ll get the chance to learn how to relate to them on the
biggest stage in judo.”
Although only 22-years-old, Sayaka Matsumoto (El Cerrito, Calif./48kg.) is
competing on her third World Championships Team. The six-time national champion
is looking for her first medal at the Worlds.
Matsumoto and East Bay Judo Institute teammate Molly O’Rourke (El Cerrito,
Calif./78kg.) both won bronze medals at the 2005 Pan American Championships.
Matsumoto and O’Rourke are both coached by Matsumoto’s father David.
Heavyweight Heidi Moore (Englewood, Colo./+78kg.) also comes from a “judo
family” as she is coached by husband and Sydney Paralympic gold medalist
Scott Moore. Heidi retired from competition in 2002 to start a family, but came
out of retirement in 2004 and won this spring’s National Championships;
however she lost a fight-off against Garlyn Celestin and was named as an alternate
to the team. Celestin withdrew from her spot in July and Moore was named in
"We have a good balance of young athletes as well as several experienced
ones,” said Jose H. Rodriguez (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Judo Executive
Director. “These World Championships are the first leg of our athletes’
search for Olympic glory in Beijing. The experience the athletes will gain in
Cairo will be of great benefit in the next three years as they prepare for China.
Judo is about to go on a upswing in popularity in the United States and the
success of our athletes will be a catalyst for this upswing."
Head Coach Ed Liddie will be coaching his sixth World Championships Squad.
Liddie, who finished fifth at the 1983 and 1989 World Championships, is the
head coach of the Olympic Training Center Judo Club.
“I’m honored to be helping out the World Championships Team,”
Liddie said. “I look forward to working with Jason and and have great
hopes that this will be a successful event for the team.”
Coach Morris, a bronze medalist at the 1993 World Championships, is fresh off
an impressive showing as Team USA’s head coach at the Pan American Judo
Union Championships in Puerto Rico in May where the squad won 10 medals –
four of which were gold.
“I am honored to have this opportunity,” said Morris, a four-time
Olympian and Barcelona silver medalist. “Except for two players [Matsumoto
and Cohen], this is an entirely new World Team, so I expect this Worlds to be
a great building block on the road to Beijing in 2008. I just hope to be able
to help them prepare any way I can to give them the chance to perform at their
A first-time member of the World Team coaching staff, Morris looks forward
to bringing his experience as a top judoka to his young team, but is keenly
aware of the differences that exist between participating in a World Championships
as a coach versus his previous role as an athlete.
“It’s 10 times as hard,” Morris said. “There are 14
athletes on this team, so you have to multiply everything you deal with by yourself
by 14 in order to deal with their needs and keep them focused on the task at
Morris is joined on the coaching staff by Team Managers Humberto Lopez (Miami,
Fla.) and Sergeant Major E.L.B. Mayfield (Jacksonville, N.C.)
Dr. Ricardo Nieves (Carlsbad, N.M.) and Dr. Craig Gelfound (Lancaster, Calif.)
are serving as team doctors for the trip.
The 2005 USA Judo World Championships Team was selected at the World Team Trials
in Virginia Beach, Va. in April and team members are listed below:
Weight, Name, Current Residence
60kg: Taraje Williams-Murray, Bronx, N.Y.*
66kg: Justin Flores, Menlo Park, Calif.
73kg: Ryan Reser, Colorado Springs, Colo.
81kg: Aaron Cohen, Glenville, N.Y.
90kg: Dariusz Mikolajczak, Brooklyn, N.Y.
100+kg: Kirk Hoffman, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Weight, Name, Current Residence
48kg: Sayaka Matsumoto, El Cerrito, Calif.
52kg: Carrie Chandler, Glenville, N.Y.
57kg: Valerie Gotay, Temecula, Calif.*
63kg: Ronda Rousey, Scotia, N.Y.*
70kg: Katie Mocco, Glenville, N.Y.
78kg: Molly O’Rourke, El Cerrito, Calif.
78+kg: Heidi Moore, Englewood, Colo.
* Denotes Olympian.