By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — High school senior Olivia Winsor has been named as an official alternate for the 2014 Junior World Judo Championships in the 70kg division.
The Junior World Judo Championships is the most competitive junior judo tournament in the entire world. The tournament will be held in Miami, Florida from Oct. 22-26.
Winsor was named as an alternate after Sophia Swain suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw from the tournament. Winsor came close to defeating Swain in the IJF division, which is for judo athletes 18 years and older, in the President’s Cup in Dallas, Texas in March.
After finishing as the runner-up in the tournament, Winsor was named as an alternate for the Junior World Judo Championships. She never thought she would be able to make the trek to Miami, but her dream came true.
“It’s such an honor because this is a huge opportunity,” said Winsor. “When my dad called me to tell me that I was named as an alternate, it came as a complete shock.”
Norm Winsor concurred with his daughter’s sentiment.
“This is the highest tournament for juniors in the world,” said Norm Winsor. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Winsor said she is going to be one of the youngest judo athletes competing for the U.S. “I am very excited and honored to have made the team because I am so young,” added Winsor. “I never expected this.”
Last week’s surprise announcement that she was tapped for the Junior World Judo Championships marks another milestone in what has been a busy year for Winsor. Over the summer, she won a bronze medal in the 2014 Pan-American Games held in early July in San Salvador, El Salvador. She earned the bronze medal in the 70kg Sub 18 female cadets division.
Winsor also captured gold medals in both the Juvenile B cadet and IJF 70 kg divisions during the Junior U.S. Open in Fort Lauderdale, Florida recently.
The judo sensation has competed in judo tournaments in 30 states and three countries, El Salvador, Argentina and Canada. Her ultimate goal is to compete and medal in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
In order to get ready for the Junior World Judo Championships, Winsor will be training at Pedro’s Judo Center in Wakefield under the direction of both her father and Jimmy Pedro, who won the bronze medal during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Pedro is also Kayla Harrison’s head coach. Harrison was the first American to win a gold medal in judo during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Winsor will also be training at One to One Strength in North Andover under the guidance of trainer Paul Soucy.