Share Share: June 28, 2016 Model Olympian: Kayla Harrison More Samba dancing from the reigning Olympic champion. Kayla Harrison and her 2012 Olympic gold medal. Harrison will represent the U.S. again in Rio. Harrison was born in Middletown, Ohio. Harrison started in judo when she was 6 years old. Kayla Harrison currently lives and trains just outside Boston, Massachusetts. Kayla Harrison trains under two-time bronze medalist Jimmy Pedro. Harrison is ranked No. 1 in the world at 78kg. Olympic champions compete with a special gold back patch. Harrison won gold at the Pan American Games in 2011 and 2015. Harrison won World Masters in 2015 and 2016. Kayla Harrison is the only American to ever win an Olympic gold medal in judo. Harrison tried her hand at Samba dancing during an NBC Olympics photo shoot. Will Harrison defend her Olympic title in Rio? More Samba dancing from the reigning Olympic champion. Harrison likes to name inanimate objects, including her Olympic gold medal, which she calls “Fred.” In 2012, Kayla Harrison won the United States’ first-ever gold medal in judo. This year, she’s back for more.