Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mother of judo succumbs to cancer

Not too long ago I wrote briefly about Rusty Kanokogi who was dubbed the "mother of judo" for her lifelong dedication to promoting the sport in the United States including getting girls and women involved. It was largely due to her efforts that women's judo made it to the Olympics. Rusty made news then when the YMCA awarded her a gold medal for her participation in a the state championship match she took part in in 1959. When the officials found out she was a girl, they took her medal away. The YMCA rectified that mistake this year.
Kanokogi was battling leukemia at that time, a disease she had been fighting for three years. She died of the disease this week.
She will be inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame this April.
Her accomplishments are many and some can be found in the above-linked article. She sounds like one of the unsung heroines of women's sports, the martial arts, and sport in general.

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