Fresh off worlds podium, Canadian trailblazer Jessica Klimkait hungry for more judo success
Jessica Klimkait can proudly claim to be a trailblazer in the world of Canadian women's sports.
The 26-year-old from Whitby, Ont., made Canadian judo history in Tokyo when she became the first woman to earn an Olympic medal representing Canada in July 2021.
"That's been a goal and dream of mine, not only to attend the Olympic Games, but to be on the podium. Obviously, the highest step on the podium would have been preferred," she said at the time to CBC Sports' Devin Heroux.
Klimkait, who started in the sport at four years old, was disappointed to lose in the semifinal to Sarah Léonie Cysique of France as the top-ranked judoka in her weight class.
"I came here with gold in mind. That was the goal for me," Klimkait said. "At the end of the day, I'm just happy I was able to collect myself after that loss and come away with a medal."
WATCH l Klimkait became the 1st Canadian woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo:
Just a month before the Games, the Canadian struck gold in the world championships in Budapest. It was just the second time a Canadian judoka had claimed a world title, following Christa Deguchi in the same weight class in 2019 in Tokyo.
Klimkait never left the podium in the competition since, earning back-to-back bronze medals in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 2022, and in Doha, Qatar, in May 2023.
"Bronze was not what I hoped or trained for, but I'm proud to have kept my focus after my loss to make sure I stood on the podium at the end of the day," Klimkait reflected about this year's edition in an Instagram post.
"Sometimes your losses give you the opportunity to learn the most about yourself. My goal remains the same, and I'll continue to move forward and keep working hard."
The results let the world