Colton Brown Calls It A Career As U.S. Judokas Wrap Up Competition In Tokyo

by Karen Price

Colton Brown competes at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 28, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.


Colton Brown came to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with a plan.

Although it didn’t come to fruition, the two-time Olympic judoka said he left it all out on the mat before announcing his retirement from the sport.

“The amount of support I’ve received from my family and friends has been incredible, and I fought with all of you guys in my heart,” he wrote on social media. “When I woke up yesterday, my heart was full. My mind went back to my 12 year old self working out in the backyard with my father. If someone told me then that I would eventually travel the world meeting incredible people and competing at the highest level of sport, I wouldn’t have believed them. Dreams really do come true if you’re willing to put the work in and have a solid group of people around you. Thank you guys for making my time on the mat an unforgettable experience.”

The Olympic Games are now over for all four of the U.S. judo athletes.
Brown, 29, won by ippon in the opening bout in the men’s 90 kg., beating Raphael Schwendinger of Liechtenstein. He then faced Turkey’s Mihael Zgank and lost by waza-ari to end his Olympic run. Brown, from Piscataway, New Jersey, announced his retirement immediately after and reflected on the fact that his judo career essentially started when he moved to Tokyo to live and train following high school.

“Finishing here (at the Nippon Budokan) makes it all the more special,” he told reporters. “Everybody always asks, ‘If this were your last match, how would you fight?’ I’m not upset with how I fought in that last match. For me to make it here and on top of that leave everything I had in the tank on this mat, I think this is the best I’ve ever fought today. It’s a really special feeling, shows the growth and it shows that if you train hard enough and put your mind to something you can vastly improve. I gave it everything I had.” 

Angelica Delgado during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.


Angelica Delgado was next up for the U.S., competing in her second Olympic Games in the 52 kg. class, Delgado beat Portugal’s Joana Ramos by ippon in the golden score period to advance to the round of 16, but that’s where her Olympic journey ended. The 30-year-old from Miami lost by ippon to Hungary’s Reka Pupp in a match she said afterward she definitely could have won. 

“I felt really good winning the first one, especially against someone I’ve never beaten before,” she told USA Judo. “I thought it was going to continue the second match, but it just didn’t pan out like that.”

Delgado lost in the first round in Rio in 2016.

Nefeli Papadakis competes during the Women’s Judo 78kg Elimination Round of 32 on July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.


First-time Olympian Nefeli Papadakis fought on Thursday in the women’s 78 kg. division. The 22-year-old from Gurnee, Illinois, lost by ippon in the first round to Korea’s Hyunji Yoon.

Nina Cutro-Kelly competes during the Women’s Judo +78kg Elimination Round of 32 on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.


At 36 years old, heavyweight Nina Cutro-Kelly officially became the oldest American to compete in judo in the 57 years that the sport has been part of the Olympic schedule. The Albany, New York, native lost to Slovenia’s Anamari Velensek, 10-1, on Friday to complete Team USA’s schedule in Tokyo.

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020? Visit to view the medal table, results and competition schedule.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.