LONDON - Although she may have missed her chance at Olympic gold, Marti Malloy, 26, of the United States won the women's 57 kg. judo bronze medal Monday.
She earned the bronze with a match-ending throw against a 2008 Olympic champion. The bronze is nearly as rare for U.S. women in judo.
Malloy has ties to the Crystal Falls area. She is the daughter of Marty and Merry (Tuchowski) Malloy, both graduates of Forest Park High School in 1975 and 1976, respectively.
Marti Malloy of the United States, reacts after pinning Giula Quintavalle of Italy, to win their bronze medal match at the women’s 57-kg judo competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, in London.
"The family is pretty excited about the news today and how well she did," her aunt Cathy Vassar of Crystal Falls said.
Malloy's father, Marty, who is originally from Amasa, also watched his daughter win bronze from the stands, where he was wearing a T-shirt with "Malloy" emblazoned on it, designed like a judo uniform.
"All I can ever remember about my daughter is her going to judo tournaments since she was 6," he said.
Malloy wasn't sure how he would reward his daughter but said there would definitely be celebrations later.
"First I'm going to have a beer in her honor," he said.
"I'm so excited. Now I've beaten the Olympic champion," Marti Malloy said. "She's very experienced, and I have a lot of respect for her."
It was the second medal for the USA in Olympic women's judo. Ronda Rousey won the first, in 2008 in Beijing when she took bronze. Women's judo became an Olympic sport in 1992.
Malloy won the bronze by ippon (judo's version of a walk-off homer) when she threw Giuila Quintavalle of Italy with 2 minutes, 34 second elapsed in their five-minute match for one of two bronze medals awarded in the 125.7-pound weight class. Giuila won gold in the weight class in Beijing.
Malloy is from Oak Harbor, Wash. and now lives in San Jose, Calif. She was a fifth-place finisher at last year's world championships.
She made it to the semifinals Monday before losing to Corina Caprioriu of Romania, a world bronze medalist last year. Caprioriu's win by ippon came when she executed a backward throw called an ura-nage with seven seconds left. But Malloy bounced back for the bronze.
"I peaked for this tournament," Malloy said. "It's my first Olympics, and I feel fantastic to be leaving with the bronze."
Malloy has knocked out the No. 2 seed at the Olympic judo competition before fighting in the semifinals Monday afternoon.
Second-ranked Portuguese fighter Telma Monteiro had defeated Malloy in their last two meetings, but U.S. coach Jimmy Pedro described Malloy's recent form as "spectacular."
On Monday, Malloy fought off Monteiro's aggressive attempts to grip her uniform and repeatedly tried to throw Monteiro. The fight went into overtime, when Malloy swept Monteiro's foot to make the winning throw.
Malloy won her next two bouts, one with a match-ending ippon and the other by unanimous judges' decision.
Last week, Pedro predicted that if Malloy could get past Monteiro, she would likely make the semifinals of the women's 57-kilogram division and fight for a medal.
She first made a name for herself in the senior rankings as a 16 year-old when she claimed a gold medal in her first senior international competition in 2002. In 2005, she continued her success at both the junior and senior levels, winning a silver medal at the U.S. Open and becoming the only U.S. athlete to win gold at the Junior Pan American Championships.
In 2007, she moved up from 57 kg to 63 kg, where she placed ninth in the World Championships.
By 2009, she added a second Senior National title and won the World Team Trials to compete on her second Senior World Team. In 2010, she won her first big international medal at Pan American Judo Championships and defended her Senior National title from the previous year.