The Future of Judo Looks Bright
Over the course of the 2023 judo season, rising junior competitor Jack Yonezuka -73kg has garnered many medals along the way. None more important than the one he earned two weeks ago. Jack placed second at the 2023 Junior World Championships in Odivelas, Portugal bringing home a silver medal with him.
It was an exciting moment to watch Jack win the silver medal. It is also huge for USA Judo as it will impact the whole continent. It shows that there is potential for the sport to grow in the United States. In the past, USA Judo has produced amazing judoka from American Judo System Founders, Jimmy Pedro and Travis Stevens, as well as Kayla Harrison and Marti Malloy. Jack is now the representation of the next generation of judoka competing under the Team USA banner.
Jack is looking to continue on the momentum he built this far and is hoping to qualify for Los Angeles 2028. He lives and breathes judo as he comes from a family of judoka. Jack’s father, Nick, was the youngest ever judo player to make an olympic team when he did so at 16 in 1980 and has also had a great career as a national coach.
Johnny Praddo and Eddie Liddie both speak of Jack’s high leadership qualities as well as their vision to build and develop judo players similarly to the European Countries. Yonezuka’s Junior Worlds silver medal will inspire more judoka to join the USA Judo initiative, building with a vision for the future!
Recently, there has been an increase in funding to help offer greater opportunities to USA athletes. The objective is to have a strong and contending team in Los Angeles for the 2028 Olympic Games. Jack Yonezuka is just getting started.