NewsMaria LabordeJohn JayneJack YonezukaAngelica Delgado

U.S. Olympic Judo Team Qualifiers Finalized for Paris

by Nicole Jomantas

Photo of Olympic Team

(Colorado Springs, CO) – After nearly two years and nearly 100 qualifying tournaments, Team USA has qualified four athletes for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

Team USA’s qualifiers are as follows: 

  • Maria Laborde (Kenosha, WI / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center / 48 kg)
  • Angelica Delgado (Miami, FL / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center / 52 kg)
  • Jack Yonezuka (West Long Branch, NJ / NYAC / Cranford JKC / 73 kg)
  • John Jayne (Chicago, IL / 90 kg)

Although the IJF qualification process includes several upcoming Continental Open tournaments, the majority of qualification quotas were mathematically locked following the conclusion of the Senior World Championships last week with updated Olympic Rankings posted on May 28. Qualification began in June of 2022 with the final rosters for all nations to be posted by the IJF by June 25, 2024. The top 17 athletes with a maximum of one per nation and excluding the host nation will earn quotas in each weight division. For the United States, Laborde, Delgado and Yonezuka all will finish the qualification period locked into the top 17. Twenty-one additional continental quotas are available within the Pan Am region with a maximum of one per nation with Jayne securing the quota for the United States.

“The qualification process has been an arduous one with these athletes competing across five continents in as many as 12 or more tournaments a year for the opportunity to represent Team USA at the Olympic Games. This group has a mix of youth and experience and I’m excited for the future both in Paris and as we look ahead to Los Angeles,” said USA Judo Director of High Performance Eddie Liddie (Colorado Springs, CO), himself a 1984 Olympic bronze medalist. “While it will be this team of four that competes in Paris, each of these athletes has been supported by coaches and clubmates both on the road and back home and I want to congratulate those individuals as well. Every athlete stands on the mat alone, but the journey wouldn’t be possible without coaches, teammates, family and friends.”

Meet Team USA

(Photo by IJF)
Angelica Delgado, 52 kg

The Paris Olympic Games will mark the third for Delgado who also represented Team USA in 2016 and 2021. The three-time Grand Slam medalist recently won her ninth Senior Pan American-Oceania Championship medal with a silver in April in Rio de Janeiro – the site of her first Olympic Games. Delgado was introduced to the sport by her father, Miguel Delgado, a former member of the Cuba National Team, who fled Cuba in the 1980s and made his way to Miami where he counted his old judo gi as one of the few possessions he took with him to the United States. Delgado learned the sport first from her father in their backyard as a 9-year-old, but soon became a rising star who began representing Team USA on the international stage as a teenager. After competing in both Rio and Tokyo, Delgado returned to the circuit for one more quad – this time with her eyes set on a medal.

(Photo by IJF)
John Jayne, 90 kg

A dual citizen of both the United States and Great Britain, Jayne was a standout in both judo and wrestling who went on to wrestle at the University of Chicago where he continued to compete internationally in judo while pursuing a degree in mathematics. After graduating from the University of Chicago, Jayne moved down from 100 kg to 90 kg in 2019 and qualified for his first Senior World Championship in 2021 after the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020. A three-time medalist at the Senior Pan Am-Oceania Championships, Jayne won silver in 2024 and will be making his Olympic debut in Paris.

(Photo by IJF)
Maria Laborde, 48 kg

Laborde won team bronze at the 2013 Senior World Championships representing her native Cuba and returned to the podium the following year with an individual bronze medal win. After moving to the United States, Laborde received her U.S. citizenship in 2022 and began competing for Team USA in March of 2022. In 2023, Laborde made history as the first U.S. athlete to medal at the Masters Worlds since 2016 when she won silver. Laborde will hold the highest seed for Team USA at the Games where she is expected to be seeded 10th at 48 kg.

(Photo by IJF)
Jack Yonezuka, 73 kg

At just 21 years old, Yonezuka will be the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Judo Team. Yonezuka hails from one of the most storied families in USA Judo as the son of 1980 Olympian Nick Yonezuka (West Long Branch, NJ) and the grandson of two-time Olympic coach Yoshisada Yonezuka (Cranford, NJ). Although Yonezuka’s grandfather passed away in 2014, the club he founded, Cranford Judo JKC, has produced nine Olympians from 1980 – 2021. Yonezuka made history as a junior, becoming the first U.S. man to win two medals at the Junior World Championships with bronze in 2022 and silver in 2023. In March, Yonezuka won his first World Tour medal with a bronze at the Upper Austria Grand Prix, becoming the second U.S. man to win a Grand Prix medal during the Paris quadrennium.

The judo competition schedule in Paris is as follows:

Saturday, July 27
Men’s 60 kg
Women’s 48 kg

Sunday, July 28
Men’s 66 kg
Women’s 52 kg

Monday, July 29
Men’s 73 kg
Women’s 57 kg

Tuesday, July 30
Men’s 81 kg
Women’s 63 kg

Wednesday, July 31
Men’s 90 kg
Women’s 70 kg

Thursday, August 1
Men’s 100 kg
Women’s 78 kg

Friday, August 2
Men’s +100 kg
Women’s +78 kg