MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WDTN) - On August 2, Kayla Harrison will fight to become the first American to win gold in judo at the Olympics.
It is the result of a lifetime of sacrifice, training and at some points, dark secrets.
Starting when Kayla was just 13 years-old, she was sexually abused by her former judo coach, Daniel Doyle.
The relationship lasted for three years until Kayla's mother found out and went to authorities in 2007.
2 NEWS was there the night FBI agents raided Doyle's Spring Valley Road home and later for his sentencing when he lashed out at one of our photographers.
Doyle is currently serving a 10 year federal prison sentence.
"I feel like I remember having to go through the trial and having to go through pressing charges and feeling so wrong," Kayla said during an interview at her Boston training center.
It is 2 NEWS policy to always protect the identify of sexual abuse victims but, after the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Kayla was compelled to speak out.
"I don't want victims to be ashamed of who they are," she said. "There's all this taboo around sexual abuse. There's all this taboo around what happened at Penn State with boys being afraid to come out. What's wrong with our society? When I hear about, students protesting Joe Pa being fired,or stepping down, instead of protesting what happened to those victims, it makes me so angry inside. They don't deserve a college education if that's how they feel".
With her strong views Kayla will undoubtedly make many headlines over the next few weeks. However, she's still hopeful that people will be able to look beyond her past and focus on her performance come August 2nd.
Harrison is one of the favorites to win gold, but she could face the defending Olympic judo champion from China.
"It gives me goose bumps and I can't imagine what it's going to be like if it's actually me and I'm on top of the podium," she said. "Me standing there, staring at our flag, listening to the national anthem".
Remember WDTN is your home for the 2012 London Olympics.
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