The Associated Press

Local Harrison Wins U.S.’s First Olympic Judo Gold

Wakefield's Kayla Harrison celebrates after beating Gemma Gibbons, of Great Britain, for the gold medal during the women's 78-kg judo competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics Thursday. (AP)

Wakefield’s Kayla Harrison celebrates after beating Gemma Gibbons, of Great Britain, for the gold medal during the women’s 78-kg judo competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics Thursday. (AP)

LONDON — A Massachusetts resident has become the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in judo.

Kayla Harrison took the women’s 78-kilogram title Thursday at the London Games by defeating Britain’s Gemma Gibbons in a final she dominated from the start. Harrison got a stronger grip on Gibbons and threw her twice.

The 22-year-old Harrison is originally from Ohio but is currently living in Marblehead and training in Wakefield under two-time Olympic bronze medalist Jimmy Pedro.

Her medal is the U.S.’s second in judo this week: Teammate Marti Malloy won a bronze in the women’s 57-kilogram division.

Harrison is ranked No. 4 in the world and is a former world champion.

She said she was focused on the gold from the start.

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