Q&A With Olympic Judo Athlete Nicole Stout

This judo athlete and Olympic hopeful talks about kicking ass and taking names.

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Why do you love Judo?

I love Judo because being able to dominate and throw another person around is such an empowering feeling. Winning always makes me feel like the queen of the world.

Olympic judo athlete Nicole Stout

When did your Olympic journey begin?

I have always wanted to be in the Olympics, and when I was younger, I wanted to compete in rhythmic gymnastics. I quit that sport as a teenager and took up Judo, and I am now trying to qualify for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. It’s an incredibly difficult process because there is no one competition that serves as the Olympic trials, and I have to travel all over the world to amass enough points to be ranked.

Would you consider yourself a girly girl or tomboy?

I am definitely a girly girl. My room is covered in pastel pink and cute little cats!

What gives you an advantage in Judo?

Because of my gymnastics and ballet background, I am very well-versed in choreography, making it easy for me to learn judo techniques. My flexibility and balance also come in handy and are a great advantage over any opponent.

What’s something people don’t know about you?

I cry almost every practice. Most people wouldn’t know that because I am such a happy-go-lucky person, but I am also incredibly competitive and emotionally invested in every competition and practice. So I cry a ton out of frustration.

What do you want women to know about Judo?

I want to show women that martial arts are just as feminine and beautiful as ballet. There is a grace to the precision of the techniques and the culture surrounding the sport, and I hope that by following my journey, women will think of martial arts of being as much a woman’s sport as it is a man’s.

How do you stay focused on your goals?

Many girls my age are distracted and unfocused, but I don’t find it difficult to concentrate on my goals. I think the saying from Proverbs has some merit — Idle hands are the devil’s playthings — meaning that nothing good comes out of boredom. My advice: Join a sport, get a hobby, keep yourself busy. That will make it easier to work toward your goals.

What challenges have you ran into in this male-dominated sport?

The majority of my training partners are men, and once I actually fought a man in collegiate competition when they didn’t have any women for me to go up against. Even though he outweighed me by roughly 20 pounds, the referee kept asking him if he was really OK fighting me instead of the other way around. The guy also talked to himself through the whole match, and it was really difficult to retain my composure when he was continually whispering, Oh no. Oh. This was a mistake.

Because of her rigorous schedule, Stout relies on SR CarnoSyn beta-alanine. “It delays the feeling of lactic acid in your muscles and boosts recovery,” she says.

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