96-year-old coaches two athletes heading to summer Olympics
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Two former San Jose State University students are heading to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro hoping to take the gold in judo. Both athletes come from a powerhouse program that's taught by a 96-year-old coach.
In the judo world, Yoshihiro Uchida is considered a legend. For 70 years, he's been coaching judo at San Jose State.
He's instrumental in making judo a national and even Olympic sport, serving as the first U.S. Olympic judo coach in the 1964 Tokyo games.
"That was a real honor," said Uchida. "I made judo a sport and it spread into the entire world."
Since then, he said, 20 Olympic judo players have come out of San Jose State, more than any other training center in the country.
This summer, two of his athletes will represent the United States in Brazil. Marti Malloy is the second woman to ever medal in Olympic Judo, winning the bronze in the 2012 London Olympics and newcomer Colton Brown. San Jose State students are beaming with pride.
"A lot of times you feel like you are pushing yourself as hard as you can and you see people doing that much more," said April Fehr, San Jose State student. "It inspires you and there is always more to give."
Uchida attributes the program's success to teaching his athletes respect and discipline.
"Sometimes I see them do techniques real well and at times they practice being sloppy and I say come on shape up," said Uchida.
His students said what sets him apart is his focus on education.
"You are not all going to make it to the Olympic team but you have to have an education that is very important that will push you forward," said Uchida.
The building on campus, where Uchida teaches is named after him. At 96 years old, he will be traveling to the Summer Olympics to root on his former students.