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The trip to Sydney isn't the only time Tong has traveled for competitions--in fact, it's a common occurrence. Tong remarks, "In the U.S. it's tough to get people to come out and train with us; we have to go overseas. There's so many people in Japan doing judo, it's unbelievable. The level is much higher."
|And it's not just in Japan, either: "In Europe it's pretty strong. All of the European countries are two to three hours away from each other, so it's easier for them to train with one another. That in turn makes all of Europe much higher."||
This makes for a grueling travel schedule. "Japan in May, Spain in July, Holland in August, Japan in August..." lists Tong. "It's tough, with the travel, jet lag, etc. It's exhausting."
Luckily, Tong left for Sydney early, arriving 6 September to allow for two weeks of training before the judo competition starts on the 16th. "We'll be training, mostly," says Tong. "We'll also visit a children's hospital."
Tong prepares to throw a member of the SJSU Men's Judo team as coach Mike Swain, himself a four-time Olympian and the first American World Champion, looks on.
So with all the traveling, training, and competition, what about dating? I asked Amy if guys get intimidated that she's an Olympic judo player. Amy chuckles. "Yeah, sometimes. The girls on the SJSU judo team go out together--like to a club--and when guys find out we're on the judo team, they're like, 'Whoa!'".
I think Amy will impress folks in the judo competition as well. "I'm looking forward to it. It'll be so exciting," says Tong. It'll be exciting for all of us watching as well.
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