Judo Sport

Legends of Judo: Driulis González Morales

From CNN

That Cuba’s Driulis González Morales competed on the biggest stage five times is testament to her skill, commitment and class.

From 1992 to the turn of the millennium, González dominated judo’s lightweight category, finishing on the podium at every major competition she competed in.

She took a lengthy time out for the birth of her son, but she returned with a vengeance in 2003, achieving further success in the heavier half-middleweight division.

All in all, Morales won medals at four Olympic Games between — 1992 and 2004 — and seven World Championships. Unbeatable in regional competition, she won an incredible 11 Pan American titles.

Her Olympic career came to an end with a fifth place at Beijing in 2008, but she remains one of only three women judokas to compete in five Games, alongside Ryoko Tani of Japan and Australia’s Maria Pekli.

A Cuban icon

A triumphant Driulis Gonzales stands atop the podium at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, alongside Spain's Isabel Fernandez, Belgium's Marisabel Lomba and South Korean Jung Sun-Yong.

González’s finest hour came in the Atlanta 1996 Olympic final, where she faced South Korea’s Jung Sun-Yong in a rematch of the 1995 World Championships decider.

González, then 23, emerged victorious from the hard-fought, scrappy contest by two yuko scores to nil.

She was inducted into the International Judo Federation’s hall of fame in 2015, becoming the first Latin American woman to receive the honor.

Watch the video above to find out more.

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